Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
March 9th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Employers Weigh In on ACA Changes
The change in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is being contemplated by the U.S. Supreme Court is the one least favored by employers, according to a yet-to-be released Mercer survey. As part of the survey, nearly 600 employers were asked whether they would favor or oppose a number of ACA-related changes being discussed by Congress and the courts, keeping in mind the impact of each change on their organization’s health benefit program. The change with the least backing is “Disallowing federal subsidies for individual coverage in states that don’t operate their own exchange.” Only 27% are in favor, while 31% are opposed (42% say they have no opinion).Read more >
Participants Appreciate Investing Guidance
A majority of 401(k) participants feel positive about the information they receive from their employers related to making informed investing/saving decisions, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. Thirty-one percent rate the experience as “excellent,” and 43% rate it as “good.” One-quarter gave their employer a lesser rating on employee financial support, including 19% who said their employer does only a “fair” job and 6% saying a “poor” one. Nearly one-third of investors surveyed said they most need advice about which retirement plan funds to invest in.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
Scott Kaplan has been named head of the pension risk transfer business team at Prudential Retirement, effective immediately. Kaplan, a senior member of the pension risk transfer (PRT) leadership team, will continue to report to Phil Waldeck, the overall group head of pension and structured solutions for Prudential. The rest of the PRT team remains the same.Read more >
OneAmerica says its expanded lineup of tools and services for plan sponsors is now easier to access—and can lead to improved plan outcomes. The expanded retirement readiness program pulls together a variety of products, services and technology from across the OneAmerica enterprises to help improve employees’ retirement readiness, says Bill Yoerger, president of retirement services for the companies of OneAmerica.Read more >
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Economic Events

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5%. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about wholesale inventories for January. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for February and business inventories for January. Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the producer price index (PPI) for February.

Market Mirror

Stocks dropped sharply on Friday as another strong U.S. jobs survey raised the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would start to raise interest rates later this year, according to the Associated Press. The Dow fell 278.94 points (1.54%) to 17,856.78, the NASDAQ was down 55.44 points (1.11%) at 4,927.37, and the S&P 500 lost 31.20 points (1.48%) to finish at 2,069.84. The Russell 2000 decreased 16.78 points (1.36%) to 1,217.53, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 306.41 points (1.38%) lower at 21,886.43.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with declining issues outnumbering advancing issues more than 5 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares traded, with a more than 2 to 1 lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 1 5/32, bringing its yield up to 2.247%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 2 8/32, increasing its yield to 2.847%.

WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending March 6, the Dow lost 1.52%, the NASDAQ was down 0.73%, and the S&P 500 fell 1.67%. The Russell 2000 decreased 1.28%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 1.47% lower.

Compliance
Lawmakers Ask DOL for Fiduciary Rule Info
About three dozen U.S. Representatives are urging Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to release more information about the Department of Labor’s controversial fiduciary definition proposal—especially information about whether or not the Department of Labor (DOL) is effectively collaborating with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which shares jurisdiction over key areas of investment advice regulation. As the industry waits for the rulemaking language, House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minnesota) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tennessee) are asking whether the DOL has effectively collaborated with the SEC in creating the new fiduciary language under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).Read more >
From the Magazine
Re-enrollment Mechanics
Retirement plans “should be treated much like other benefits, such as health care, which employees must revisit once a year during an open enrollment period,” suggests a recent paper from T. Rowe Price. The paper, “Best Practice Considerations for a Better Retirement Plan,” urges employers to adopt automatic annual re-enrollment for their retirement plans. While aggressive automatic annual re-enrollment may not be in the cards for every employer, industry experts say there are numerous ways to plan for and execute the strategy. Whether the objective is to improve the asset allocations of plan investors or boost overall participation, re-enrollments are an important event in the life of any plan.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to join the United States. In 1820, the U.S. Congress passed the Land Act that paved the way for westward expansion of North America. In 1822, Charles M. Graham received the first patent for artificial teeth. In 1858, Albert Potts was awarded a patent for the letter box. In 1897, a patent was issued to William Spinks and William Hoskins for cue chalk. In 1959, Mattel introduced Barbie at the annual Toy Fair in New York. In 1969, “The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour” was canceled by CBS-TV. In 1990, Dr. Antonia Novello was sworn in as the first female and Hispanic surgeon general. 
SURVEY SAYS: Signs of Spring
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “What signifies spring to you, and what do you think about daylight saving time?” Twenty-two percent of responding readers said the first flowers blooming signifies the start of spring to them, while 10.6% indicated consecutive days of warm weather signifies spring. The largest percentage of readers responding to the survey (41.2%) selected “other” signals that spring is here. Responding readers were nearly evenly split about whether daylight saving time (DST) should be discontinued. More than half of NewsDash readers will set their clocks for DST Saturday night before bed. The majority of readers who left comments expanded upon their thoughts about daylight saving time (without the ‘s’ on saving, as one commenter pointed out). Readers believe DST is no longer helpful; however, many would prefer to stay on DST all year long rather than stay on standard time all year long. One reader said, “I do enjoy the later evenings with daylight. But I don’t like the mornings dark……so is there a way to stretch it both ways?” Among those commenting about spring, it was obvious they are anxious for it to arrive. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “I used to think spring was warmer temperatures and green grass, but in Boston this year, it will be the great floods from eight foot snow piles.” Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey!Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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