Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 19th, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Owners and Employees Alike Can Benefit from ESOPs
“The ESOP conversation is interesting because it is a space where you can have the adviser, the ownership, and the employees all working together to find a way meet their collective objectives when it comes to benefits and retirement readiness for everyone,” says Jerry Ripperger, vice president of consulting at Principal.Read more >
One-Size-Fits-All Financial Education Missing the Mark
The financial education and wellness programs that employers are offering their workers are, for the most part, ineffective because they do not speak to each individual’s particular situation and motivate them to make a behavioral change, says Martha Brown Menard, senior researcher at financial wellness software provider Questis, based in Charleston, South Carolina. “It’s challenging for employers to deliver personalized financial advice,” Brown Menard admits. “They have limited resources and opportunities for addressing a large population that spans multiple demographics and that are experiencing diverse life events and needs. And we know now that financial education alone doesn’t change behavior. It needs to be integrated into a more comprehensive approach to financial wellness.” This means setting goals, creating concrete action plans, building motivation and providing accountability.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Retirement Industry People Moves
Aon appoints global head of Investment Product Development; Hub International acquires Spectra Management; OneAmerica hires regional sales director; and more.Read more >
New Financial Audit Rule Increases Requirements for Plan Sponsors
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Data and Research
Participants Missing the Full Match Remains a Big Problem
Predictive Analytics Can Help Solve Retirement Plan Challenges
John Hancock has begun using predictive analytics to address defined contribution (DC) plan participant behaviors that could hurt their outcomes. Speaking with PLANSPONSOR, Lynda Abend, chief data officer for John Hancock Retirement Plan Services in Boston, offers examples.Read more >
Economic Events

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,236,000, according to a joint announcement by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.0% below the revised January estimate of 1,329,000 and is 4.0% below the February 2017 rate of 1,288,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 902,000—2.9% above the revised January figure of 877,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 317,000.


THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors will report about existing home sales in February. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about durable goods orders and new home sales in February.
Market Mirror

Friday, the Dow closed 72.85 points (0.29%) higher at 24,946.51, the NASDAQ was virtually unchanged at 7,481.99, and the S&P 500 was up 4.68 points (0.17%) at 2,752.01. The Russell 2000 increased 9.43 points (0.60%) to 1,586.05, and the Wilshire 5000 gained 78.92 points (0.28%) to finish at 28,545.18.


The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 4/32, increasing its yield to 2.844%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 12/32, bringing its yield up to 3.078%.


WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending March 16, the Dow fell 1.54%, the NASDAQ decreased 1.04%, and the S&P 500 lost 1.24%. The Russell 2000 was down 0.69%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 1.09% lower.
Two ESOP Bills Would Promote Employee Ownership
Two bills on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) have passed without dissent in the Small Business Committees in the House and the Senate, and both have bipartisan support. Both support the adoption of ESOPs by small businesses.Read more >
Circuit Court Ruling to Vacate DOL Fiduciary Extends Regulatory Uncertainty
In issuing a strong ruling to vacate the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule expansion, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now at odds with multiple other courts that have upheld the rule, including the 10th Circuit.Read more >
Scorecard Shows Mixed Results for Active Fund Managers
Steve Deschenes, product management and analytics director at Capital Group, says, “The active-passive debate is an industry discussion which distracts investors from what can have a real impact on their portfolios.”Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1628, the Massachusetts colony was founded by Englishmen. In 1748, the English Naturalization Act passed granting Jewish people the right to colonize in the U.S. In 1831, the first bank robbery in America was reported. The City Bank of New York City lost $245,000 in the robbery. In 1865, the Battle of Bentonville took place. The Confederates retreated from Greenville, North Carolina. In 1903, the U.S. Senate ratified the Cuban treaty, gaining naval bases in Guantanamo and Bahia Honda. In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Adamson Act that made the eight-hour workday for railroads constitutional. In 1918, Congress approved Daylight-Saving Time. In 1945, about 800 people were killed as Japanese kamikaze planes attacked the U.S. carrier Franklin off Japan. In 1953, the Academy Awards aired on television for the first time. In 1977, the last episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” aired. In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began broadcasting its daily business on TV. In 2002, Operation Anaconda, the largest U.S.-led ground offensive since the Gulf War, ended in eastern Afghanistan. It was reported that during the operation, which began on March 2, at least 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters were killed, and 11 allied troops were killed. In 2002, actor Ben Kingsley was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush announced that U.S. forces had launched a strike against “targets of military opportunity” in Iraq. The attack, using cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs, were aimed at Iraqi leaders thought to be near Baghdad.
SURVEY SAYS RESPONSES: Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you think March Madness activities in the workplace increase or decrease morale and productivity, and are these activities encouraged in your workplace?” Nearly half (48.9%) of responding readers indicated they think March Madness activities in the workplace affect employee morale in a positive way, while 31.1% said they affect morale in a positive way for some and a negative way for others. Only 2.2% said they affect morale in a negative way, and 17.8% believe they don’t affect employee morale. As for employee productivity, 46.7% said March Madness activities in the workplace affect productivity in a positive way for some employees and in a negative way for others, while 31.1% reported they affect productivity in a negative way. Only 2.2% believe they affect employee productivity in a positive way, and 20% said they do not affect employee productivity. More than two-thirds (68.9%) reported their company/boss neither encourages or discourages March Madness activities in the workplace, while 24.4% said activities are encouraged, and 6.7% said they are discouraged. Most reader who chose to leave verbatim comments say such activities encourage camaraderie among employees and are a nice break. While loss in productivity is mentioned by several, a couple says that loss is made up immediately following March Madness. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Isn’t March Madness caused by testing deadlines?” A big thank you to all who participated in our survey!Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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