Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 16th, 2016
Ask the Experts
Correction for Excluding Union Employees from 403(b)
“My new employer was under the erroneous impression that the right to make elective deferrals to a 403(b) was a benefit that could be collectively bargained, and has been excluding collectively bargained employees from the right to make elective deferrals to the 403(b) as part of his current collective bargaining agreements with our unions. I realize that this is not correct, but how do I fix this error?”Read more >
Products, Deals and People
New Firm Provides Fee Benchmarking and Adviser Searches
Ted Benna, an industry veteran since the start of 401(k) plans, says the new DOL fiduciary rule will make it even more important for retirement plan sponsors to benchmark fees.Read more >

2023 DC Survey Standouts
Understanding Investments and Fees: A Key Part of Plan Committee Education
TIAA In-Plan Retirement Income Option Reaches $30B
Economic Events

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 $1,296.2 billion, down 0.4% from December 2015 and down 1.1% from January 2015.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 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 $447.3 billion, a decrease of 0.1% from the previous month, and 3.1% above February 2015. Total sales for the December 2015 through February 2016 period were up 2.9% from the same period a year ago.  Retail trade sales were down 0.3% from January, and up 2.7% from last year. Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 12.2 from February 2015, while gasoline stations were down 15.6% from last year.

The Producer Price Index for final demand fell 0.2% in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Final demand prices advanced 0.1% in January and declined 0.2% in December. In February, prices for final demand goods declined 0.6% and the index for final demand services was unchanged.
Market Mirror

U.S. stock indices ended mostly lower, led by a steep decline in drug company shares, according to the Associated Press. The Dow was up 22.40 points (0.13%) at 17,251.53, while the NASDAQ closed 21.61 points (0.45%) lower at 4,728.67, and the S&P 500 was down 3.71 points (0.18%) at 2,015.93. The Russell 2000 lost 17.58 points (1.62%) to finish at 1,066.66, and the Wilshire 5000 decreased 62.68 points (0.30%) to 20,595.97.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a near 3 to 1 lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares changed hands, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues more than 3 to 1.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 2/32, increasing its yield to 1.967%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 5/32, decreasing its yield to 2.726%.
Plan Sponsors Face Risks in Fiduciary Rule Change
It’s not just financial advisers and investment providers that should be prepping for the final fiduciary rule to emerge from DOL—plan sponsors will likely face changes and new liabilities of their own.Read more >
A plan fiduciary has been ordered to restore $111,331.71 to the Applied Technology Systems Inc. Retirement Plan. Even after a previous complaint filed by the DOL, the fiduciary transferred plan assets to a company account.Read more >
From the Magazine
Saxon Angle: Changes Ahead
Approximately nine months have passed since the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s controversial April 20, 2015, re-proposal of the rule defining an investment advice fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Since then there has been much interest and speculation as to when the re-proposal will be finalized and what will be included in the final rule.Read more >
Net new investment to long-term mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) totaled $16.1 billion in February, according to Strategic Insight, an Asset International company. Demand for index funds persisted, as passive stock and bond funds netted $19.9 billion.Read more >
2015 Lightest Trading Year on Record for DC Plans
According to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index, 2015 was the lightest trading year on record for participants in defined contribution (DC) plans. Aon Hewitt attributes this, in part, to the prevalence of target-date funds in DC plans.Read more >
As stocks tumbled in January, defined contribution (DC) plan participants were busy making trades, according to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index. Though trading was lighter in February, investors favored fixed income funds in both months.Read more >
Small Talk
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. workers say they work while tired, with nearly one-third (31%) saying they do so very often, according to a new survey by staffing firm Accountemps. The costs of employees working while tired can be high. Professionals cited some mistakes that were made due to being tired on the job.Read more >

ON THIS DATE: In 1802, the U.S. Congress established the West Point Military Academy in New York. In 1850, the novel “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published. In 1882, the U.S. Senate approved a treaty allowing the United States to join the Red Cross. In 1915, the Federal Trade Commission began operation. In 1945, Iwo Jima was declared secure by the Allies. In 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson submitted a $1 billion war on poverty program to Congress. In 1968, U.S. troops in Vietnam destroyed a village consisting mostly of women and children. The event is known as the My-Lai massacre. In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by gunmen. He died while in captivity. In 1985, Terry Anderson, an Associated Press newsman, was taken hostage in Beirut. In 1994, Tonya Harding pled guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She was fined $100,000. She was also banned from amateur figure skating. In 1995, NASA astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.


WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground.”—David Icke, English writer and public speaker
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the NewsDash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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