Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 2nd, 2018
Benefits & Administration
Largest DB Plans Lead in Accelerating Pension Funding
Following a pattern as trendsetters, the 20 members of the $20 billion club collectively dismissed funding relief and paid more than triple their mandated contributions in 2017, according to Russell Investments. For the first time since 2013 (when rates rose and equity markets cooperated), funded status meaningfully improved. This was despite discount rates (grouped into “actuarial losses”) falling. In fact, for the first time since 2009, actuarial gains/losses were not the leading driver in funded status changes; net asset returns (asset returns in excess of interest cost) were. According to Justin Owens, CFA, FSA, EA, director, client strategy and research at Russell, while total 2017 contributions were the single largest ever recorded, just as noteworthy was the contribution above requirements.Read more >
How to Be a Best Performer in Health Care Practices Employer
From the 2017 Willis Towers Watson Financial Benchmark Survey and the Willis Towers Watson 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey, Willis Towers Watson defines best performers based on their abilities to manage cost trends and efficiency. According to the firm, a company of 10,000 employees could realize savings of more than $22 million annually by implementing a broad set of effective strategies and practices. It’s group of best-performing companies has achieved a $2,251 per employee per year (PEPY) health care cost advantage over the national average in 2017 ($9,950 compared with $12,201). So how do companies get to be best performers?Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
Defined Benefit Plans May Have New Life
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
Products, Deals and People
Fiduciary Advice Provider CAPTRUST Makes 3(38) Services a Big Focus
As one looks at retirement plans that have greater assets, the committee structure is more entrenched, which has slowed the uptake of 3(38) services relative to 3(21) services; Fielding Miller, CEO of CAPTRUST, argues this outlook may be changing.Read more >
Investment Products and Services Launches
Wilmington Trust to support Franklin Templeton CITs; Ryan Labs releases strategy for corporate and public pensions; and TriLine issues energy-related ETF.Read more >
Economic Events

Construction spending during January was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,262.8 billion, nearly the same as the revised December 2017 estimate of $1,262.7 billion, the Census Bureau announced. The January figure is 3.2% above the January 2017 estimate of $1,223.5 billion.

In the week ending February 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 210,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 220,000, the Labor Department reported. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969, when it was 202,000. The four-week moving average was 220,500, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 225,500. This is the lowest level for this average since December 27, 1969, when it was 219,750.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.43%, up from 4.40% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.90%, up from 3.85%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow lost 420.22 points (1.68%) to finish at 24,608.98, the NASDAQ closed 92.45 points (1.27%) lower at 7,180.56, and the S&P 500 decreased 36.16 points (1.33%) to 2.677.67. The Russell 2000 was down 5.06 points (0.33%) at 1,507.39, and the Wilshire 5000 fell 420.55 points (1.50%) to 27,696.47.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 15/32, bringing its yield down to 2.810%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 20/32, decreasing its yield to 3.093%.

Industry Voices
Barry’s Pickings: Gigging
Michael Barry, president of the Plan Advisory Services Group, discusses the growing number of “gig” workers—both retired and not—and how there is now a great need for retirement policy to serve this group.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1807, the U.S. Congress passed an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States… from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.” In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico and an ad interim government was formed. In 1861, Congress created the Territory of Nevada. In 1877, in the U.S., Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election by Congress. Samuel J. Tilden, however, had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876. In 1897, President Grover Cleveland vetoed legislation that would have required a literacy test for immigrants entering the country. In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington was established by the U.S. Congress. In 1899, U.S. President William McKinley signed a measure that created the rank of Admiral for the U.S. Navy. The first admiral was George Dewey. In 1903, the Martha Washington Hotel opened for business in New York City. The hotel had 416 rooms and was the first hotel exclusively for women. In 1908, in Paris, Gabriel Lippmann introduced three-dimensional color photography at the Academy of Sciences. In 1917, citizens of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship with the enactment of the Jones Act. In 1925, state and federal highway officials developed a nationwide route-numbering system and adopted the familiar U.S. shield-shaped, numbered marker. In 1929, the U.S. Court of Customs & Patent Appeals was created by the U.S. Congress. In 1933, the motion picture King Kong had its world premiere in New York. In 1949, the B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II landed in Fort Worth, Texas. The American plane had completed the first non-stop around-the-world flight. In 1998, images from the American spacecraft Galileo indicated that the Jupiter moon Europa has a liquid ocean and a source of interior heat. In 2004, NASA announced that the Mars rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water had existed on Mars in the past.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Wonder who was more afraid, the man or the bear?Read more >
I dare you to not say “Awwwww” when you see this one.Read more >
A marriage proposal on Mario Maker?Read more >

In Boston, Massachusetts, prosecutors say a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority driver reported a man pulled him out of his trolley and punched him repeatedly. The attacker wore a mask and carried a plastic pumpkin. According to the Associated Press, authorities say they lifted fingerprints from the pumpkin left behind at the scene to find the man. However, the man said the trolley driver paid him $2,000 to attack him while wearing a Halloween mask so the driver could fraudulently collect workers’ compensation and disability insurance. A Suffolk County grand jury indicted the driver on charges of insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, misleading a police investigation and perjury.


In Little Rock, Arkansas, a man who performs shows as the late superstar Elvis A. Presley is now filed to run as the Libertarian nominee challenging Arkansas Republican Rep. Rick Crawford. The man’s name—Elvis D. Presley.


In Oaxaca, Mexico, an interesting marriage ceremony took place. All the grooms were trees; the brides are all activists. The mass marriage was meant to draw attention to illegal logging, a serious problem in Mexico, where one-third of the land area is covered by forest, U.K.’s Metro reports.


In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, judges, sheriff deputies and court clerks showed up for a Forsyth County court session Monday, but no jurors did. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the county failed to mail notices to the 1,700 or so prospective jurors needed to hear cases this week. After no one showed up for jury duty Monday, Forsyth County officials made a plea through a local television station for volunteers, but only 19 people showed up Tuesday. One judge in the county of 370,000 residents even sent deputies to a mall to seek volunteers, but found no other takers. Trials were postponed until next week.


In Peoria, Arizona, police officers were called to a gas station for possible shoplifting last Friday. Authorities say as officers arrived, the suspects took off running. The pair ran along the side of a building and jumped a fence—landing in a secure parking lot of a police station and quickly into custody.


Have a wonderful weekend!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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