Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 13th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Fiduciary Fitness Related to Financial Wellness
According to Matt Iverson, CEO of Retiremap, a strong financial wellness program can boost participant engagement and outcomes, and may lead to plan savings in fees, Social Security taxes and even potential litigation costs. A quick poll of webinar attendees found that one-quarter (26%) of attendees do not have a financial wellness program in place, while 59% do and another 15% intend to implement one in the next six months.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
RFP for Higher Ed. Institutions Looking for an Adviser
A new template request for proposal (RFP) document from the Retirement Advisor Council is meant to cover all the elements of service typically available from professional retirement plan advisers, especially those specializing in serving higher education institutions.Read more >
HR360 Offers Group Health Plan Notices Calendar
The attorney-developed 2015 Group Health Plan Notices Calendar from HR 360 Inc. provides critical information on required notices, disclosures and filings for health benefit plan sponsors—including who must provide or receive them, and when specific notices are due.Read more >
ASPPA Has Rebranded
After some 50 years of operations, the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) has taken a new name, the American Retirement Association (ARA), to reflect an expanding mission.Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES
1
Rush of Litigation Against Retirement Plans Expected to Continue
2
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
3
2020 Recordkeeping Survey
4
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
5
2021 Target-Date Fund Survey
Economic Events

In the week ending March 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 289,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 302,250, a decrease of 3,750 from the previous week’s revised average.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.86%, up from 3.75% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.10%, up from 3.03%.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for January, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,302.5 billion, down 2.0% from December 2014 and down 0.3% from January 2014.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for February, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $437.0 billion, a decrease of 0.6% from the previous month, but up 1.7% above February 2014. Total sales for the December 2014 through February 2015 period were up 2.9% from the same period a year ago.

Market Mirror

Thursday the Dow gained 259.83 points (1.47%) to finish at 17,895.22, the NASDAQ was up 43.35 points (0.89%) at 4,893.29, and the S&P 500 closed 25.71 points (1.26%) higher at 2,065.95. The Russell 2000 climbed 20.86 points (1.72%) to 1,236.64, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 268.75 points (1.24%) to 21,869.63.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with 2.7 advancing issues for every declining issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with a 2.6 to 1 ratio of advancers to decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 3/32, bringing its yield down to 2.110%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 5/32, decreasing its yield to 2.695%.

Compliance
Retirement Income Gap Projected at $7.7 Trillion
The Pension Rights Center updated its aggregate U.S. retirement income deficit figure to $7.7 trillion—up from $6.6 trillion just five years earlier—in conjunction with today’s retirement preparedness hearing by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. The hearing was led by Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) to examine that state of retirement readiness and scout some ideas on how to address growing retirement insecurity.Read more >
From the Magazine
A New Tone in Congress
The 114th Congress brings several changes in leadership that may affect the tone and substance of the retirement policy debate. Representative George Miller (D-California), last year’s ranking member on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, has retired, as has last year’s chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has taken over from Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has taken chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee from Dave Camp (R-Michigan) who is retiring.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1781, German-born English astronomer William Hershel discovered Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. In 1868, for the first time in U.S. history, the impeachment trial of an American president got underway in the U.S. Senate. President Andrew Johnson, reviled by the Republican-dominated Congress for his views on Reconstruction, stood accused of having violated the controversial Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress over his veto in 1867. In 1877, Chester Greenwood patented the earmuff. In 1951, the comic strip “Dennis the Menace” appeared for the first time in newspapers across the country. In 1972, “The Merv Griffin Show” debuted in syndication for Metromedia Television. In 2012, after 244 years of publication, Encyclopædia Britannica announced it would discontinue its print edition.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Holding a camera may save you when you’re pitching to your son.Read more >
A flight attendant dances to Uptown Funk.Read more >

In Kingsport, Tennessee, a woman at a Kmart jewelry counter used wire cutters to cut a security cable that was attached to a counter top display case. The case contained 37 separate pairs of earrings, valued at $249.99 each. The woman proceeded to load the approximately three feet tall glass container into her buggy, according to the Kingsport Times-News, and proceeded to wheel it out the front doors. She was abruptly stopped in the breezeway and escorted to an office, where police were called.

In Panama City Beach, Florida, a so-called “church” has lost its tax-exempt status. The News Herald of Panama City reports The Life Center: A Spiritual Community has been operating a seven-day-a-week party called Amnesia: The Tabernacle since February 28. The “church” was hosting na.ked paint parties and slumber-party Sundays featuring the “se.xiest ladies on the beach.” Patrons were charged a “donation” of $20 at the door. On the walls inside were T-shirts emblazoned with ob.scene gestures and signs that say “I hate being so.ber.”

In Lakeland, Florida, a woman walked around the crossing gates and into the path of a passing freight train. The woman was clipped by the train and tossed into the air. She suffered a compound fracture to her right arm and her right leg was also injured, according to the Orlando Sentinel. She told police she did not hear the train horn and did not see the crossing arms down when she crossed; she was texting.

Is cracking your joints bad for you?Read more >

In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, police approached a man who had stepped into traffic. He claimed he was walking erratically because he was trying to avoid stepping in dog poo on the sidewalk, but police say he seemed to be under the influence, according to the Associated Press. When officers tried to arrest him, he dropped to the ground and rolled in the waste, telling officers they couldn’t arrest him because he was covered in poo. They arrested him for public dru.nkeness.

In Milton, Georgia, police said three 17-year-olds were seen with a 16-year-old accomplice stealing a pet goat from the owner’s home. A witness called 911 and the teens were pulled over with the goat still in the back of their pickup truck. The police report said one of the teens told officers he wanted to use the goat as a prop to ask a girl, “would you goat with me to prom?” A Milton police captain told a local news station, “Well, you know, it’s quite possible that these teens didn’t realize the severity of what they were doing.”

In Regensburg, Germany, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 250-year-old pretzel dubbed “the oldest ever found.” Silvia Codreanau-Windauer of the Bavarian State Bavarian Bureau for the Conservation of Historic Monuments said the pretzel was found alongside other baked goods including rolls and a croissant dough during an archaeological dig last summer, according to the UPI.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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