Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 18th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
CRR Weighs Conflicting Retirement Readiness Evidence
Simple and assumption-free calculations of wealth-to-income ratios, broken down by age, “clearly indicate that households retiring in the future will be less prepared than those in the past,” according to a new report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR). This unequivocal finding conflicts with other industry research revealing more favorable retirement readiness trends. According to CRR researchers Alicia Munnell, Matthew Rutledge and Anthony Webb, such research usually factors in questionable behavioral assumptions about how household consumption patterns will change when children leave home and when households retire.Read more >
No Big Health Benefit Enrollment Boost from ACA
The new eligibility requirements mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) had very little impact on enrollment in employer-sponsored plans in 2015, according to a survey from Mercer. “Employers that had to offer coverage to more employees were braced for a bump in enrollment this year, but they didn’t know how big it would be,” says Tracy Watts, a senior partner and leader for health reform at Mercer. “While some did see increases, for the most part it seems the newly eligible either had coverage through a parent’s or spouse’s plan or through Medicaid—or are continuing to go bare.”Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Prudential Group Insurance, a business of Prudential Financial, introduced a tool that allows employers to measure the financial wellness of their workers. The Prutection Score gauges how financially prepared employees are, should a risk event occur, by looking at the resources available to them—personal funds and insurance coverage—relative to the resources needed. This holistic approach helps employers determine if their employees are in a position to cover their families’ financial needs should they experience a loss of income or financial challenges linked to a critical illness or accident.Read more >
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New York Life Enhances Mobile App for Participants
New York Life Retirement Plan Services announced key enhancements to its mobile application (app), MyLifeNow, allowing plan participants to use the app to change contribution percentage rates and enroll in their plan’s auto-increase capability.Read more >
Formerly known as the Defined Contribution (DC) Advisory Program, the retirement plan consulting business of UBS Wealth Management Americas has been renamed UBS Retirement Plan Consulting Services. UBS Retirement Plan Consulting Services provides sponsors with customized advice and direction for managing plan complexity; a retirement plan consultant who delivers advice through a firm with resources and capital; and retirement plan consulting capabilities and financial experience to manage the challenges plan sponsors and participants face.Read more >
Sponsored message from SEI
Read how leveraging an OCIO can help improve your DC plan lineup An increasing number of organizations are seeing the benefits of this approach. This paper includes results from a recent survey of DC sponsors. Read more >
Economic Events
Privately owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 897,000. This is 17.0% below the revised January estimate of 1,081,000 and is 3.3% below the February 2014 rate of 928,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 593,000; this is 14.9% below the revised January figure of 697,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 297,000.
Market Mirror

Stock prices are closing mostly lower as traders react to lower oil prices and try to guess when interest rates might start to rise, according to the Associated Press. The Dow lost 128.34 points (0.71%) to finish at 17,849.08, the NASDAQ was up 7.93 points (0.16%) at 4,937.43, and the S&P 500 closed 6.99 points (0.34%) lower at 2,074.20. The Russell 2000 closed 2.41 points (0.19%) higher at 1,242.18, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 42.62 points (01.9%) at 21,963.94.

 

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with a nearly even split between advancing issues and declining issues.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 5/32, decreasing its yield to 2.058%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 22/32, bringing its yield down to 2.612%.

Ask the Experts
Should Participants Be Notified of Funds on Watch?
“As part of the quarterly due diligence process for our Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) 403(b) plan, the committee, from time to time, places investment options on ‘watch’ status, per the provisions of its investment policy statement (IPS). Watch status does not necessarily mean that the investment option will be replaced in the future, but simply that the fund will be subject to additional scrutiny at future due diligence meetings and could possibly be replaced in the future. Alternatively, the fund could be removed from watch status in the future, with no replacement made. Of course, we are aware of the participant notification requirements when a fund is scheduled to be replaced, but must we notify participants when a fund is placed on watch? If the answer to this question is ‘no,’ is it best practice to notify participants of watch status anyway?”Read more >
Small Talk
Cyber Attacks, Disasters and Diseases—Oh My!
The workplace threat employers most fear is a cyber attack, according to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. The 2015 Workplace Threats survey found 37% of organizations said a cyber attack was their No. 1 concern. Twelve percent of employers most fear a natural disaster, and 2% most fear a disease outbreak.Read more >
ON THIS DATE: In 1818, the U.S. Congress approved the first pensions for government service. In 1837, Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms in the office, was born. In 1911, Irving Berlin copyrighted the biggest pop song of the early 20th century—“Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” In 1931, Schick Inc. displayed the first electric shaver. In 1933, American automaker Studebaker, then heavily in debt, went into receivership. Studebaker eventually rebounded from its financial troubles, only to close its doors for the final time in 1966. In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Miranda decision concerning legal counsel for defendants. In 1974, most of the Arab oil-producing nations ended their five-month embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan. In 1992, Donna Summer received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot, pen name for Mary Ann Evans, an English novelist
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