Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 17th, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Stock Purchase Plans Can Help with Financial Wellness
In addition to helping workers manage short-term expenses and financial needs, Fidelity found that employees who have access to an ESPP are less likely to take 401(k) loans.Read more >
Sponsors and Participants Will Pay a Little Less in 2016
The average total plan cost for a small retirement plan with 100 participants and at least $5 million in assets declined from 1.29% to 1.28% over the past year, according to the 16th edition of the 401k Averages Book. The 2016 update shows the average total plan cost for large retirement plans—with at least 1,000 participants and $5 million assets—declined even more than for small plans, from 1.03% to 0.97%.Read more >
EBSA Head Lisa Gomez Says DOL Continues Honing Retirement Security Rule
Data and Research
Early Withdrawals Found to Exacerbate 401(k) Account Disparities Across Race, Gender
Final Fiduciary Rule Expected Soon
Women’s Biggest Retirement Concern: Long-Term Care
The majority of women 50 and older in America keep their biggest retirement concern to themselves—the fear of becoming a health care or long-term care responsibility to their families, according to a Nationwide Retirement Institute survey. Despite their fears, few women have talked to loved ones or a financial adviser about long-term care plans and costs.Read more >
2016 Plan Sponsor of the Year Winners
Full profiles for our 2016 Plan Sponsor of the Year winners and standouts are now online.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Wells Fargo Enhances Mobile Capabilities for Participants
Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust announced enhanced mobile capabilities that will allow participants in 401(k) plans administered by Wells Fargo to make investment elections for their 401(k) accounts from a mobile device.Read more >
Mercer to Bring Mobile Wellness Solution to Employers
Through an alliance with Kurbo Health, Mercer will provide employers with a mobile health coaching and weight loss program.Read more >
Economic Events

Privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,178,000, according to the Census Bureau. This is 5.2% above the revised January estimate of 1,120,000 and is 30.9% above the February 2015 rate of 900,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 822,000; this is 7.2% above the revised January figure of 767,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 341,000.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.2% in February after being unchanged in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3% in February, the same increase as in January.

Real average hourly earnings were unchanged in February, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings decreased 0.1%, and CPI-U decreased 0.2%. Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.5% over the month.
Market Mirror

Major U.S. stock indices ended higher after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and forecast it will raise rates more gradually than it had envisioned late last year, the Associated Press reports. The Dow gained 74.23 points (0.43%) to finish at 17,325.76, the NASDAQ closed 35.30 points (0.75%) higher at 4,763.97, and the S&P 500 increased 10.50 points (0.52%) to 2,026.43. The Russell 2000 was up 7.85 points (0.74%) at 1,074.51, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 129.07 points (0.63%) to 20,725.04.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues more than 4 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with 3 advancers for every 2 decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 15/32, bringing its yield down to 1.917%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 16/32, bringing its yield down to 2.713%.
Mutual Fund Expense Ratios See 20-Year Low
Expense ratios for equity, hybrid, and bond mutual funds dropped in 2015 to the lowest level in at least 20 years, while money market fund expense ratios remained at their 2014 low, according to data released by the Investment Company Institute (ICI). The demand for index funds played a part in the decline, says ICI.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 461, Bishop Patrick, a.k.a. St. Patrick, died in Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. In 1756, St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time. The event took place at the Crown and Thistle Tavern. In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act that had caused resentment in the North American colonies. In 1776, British forces evacuated Boston to Nova Scotia during the Revolutionary War. In 1870, Wellesley College was incorporated by the Massachusetts legislature under its first name, Wellesley Female Seminary. In 1930, Al Capone was released from jail. In 1930, in New York, construction began on the Empire State Building. In 1941, the National Gallery of Art was officially opened by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. In 1942, Douglas MacArthur became the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in the Southwestern Pacific. In 1970, the U.S. Army charged 14 officers with suppression of facts in the My Lai massacre case. In 1973, the first American prisoners of war (POWs) were released from the “Hanoi Hilton” in Hanoi, North Vietnam. In 2004, NASA’s Messenger became the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury. The probe took more than 270,000 pictures before it crashed into the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015.
SURVEY SAYS: We covered a survey in which nearly three-quarters (74%) of U.S. workers say they work while tired, with nearly one-third (31%) saying they do so very often. This week, I’d like to know if you ever work while tired, how often, and has it led to mistakes or embarrassing moments? Do you have any tips to share for reenergizing at work? You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today.Read more >
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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