Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
May 12th, 2014
Benefit Briefs
What Plan Sponsors Need to Learn
Retirement plan sponsors can always learn more about how to run and improve their plans. Gerald Wernette, principal and director of Retirement Plan Consulting, Rehmann Financial, tells PLANSPONSOR, “Plan sponsors usually feel they have a good general overview about how their plan works, especially when it comes to their skill set for handling day-to-day operations. But what they want and need to know is what’s going on out there that could impact the plan and participants. This can range from new and pending legislation to what service providers, other than theirs, are offering.”
Should Your Plan Have a Fee Policy Statement?
Fee policy statements are in the early stages, but they could be a helpful tool for plan sponsors in managing and understanding plan fees. The scope of this document could be a simple statement that sets forth general guidelines for plan fiduciaries to evaluate and review plan fees, says Sarah Downie, a partner with the law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.
Is Your Plan Provider Delivering Online?
Whether their plan is soliciting requests for proposals (RFPs) or not, plan officials have the fiduciary duty to understand how their service providers’ Web offerings match the competitions’. A new report from financial intelligence and consulting firm Corporate Insight suggests the plan sponsor’s duty to analyze its participants’ online experience is critically important in the modern defined contribution (DC) retirement planning context. The research argues that shortcomings in participant websites should be a compelling case for switching service providers or demanding more from existing provider relationships, especially as younger generations of participants expect more of the 401(k) account management experience to be delivered online.
Economic Events
The U.S. Census Bureau announced that March 2014 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $443.4 billion, up 1.4% from the revised February level and were up 6.5% from the March 2013 level. The February preliminary estimate was revised upward $1.1 billion or 0.2%. March sales of durable goods were up 1.4% from last month and were up 4.9% from a year ago. Sales of electrical and electronic goods were up 4.2% from last month and sales of metals and minerals, except petroleum were up 2.2%. Sales of nondurable goods were up 1.5% from February and were up 7.9% from last March. Sales of farm product raw materials were up 6.0% from last month and sales of grocery and related products were up 3.2%. THE ECONOMIC WEEK AHEAD: Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will report about retail sales for April and business inventories for March. Wednesday, we’ll learn the producer price index (PPI) for April from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thursday, the Labor Department will issue its initial claims report, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics will reveal the consumer price index (CPI) for April. Friday, the Census Bureau will report about housing starts for April.  
Market Mirror
Friday, the Dow inched up 32.37 points (0.20%) to 16,583.34, the NASDAQ was up 20.37 points (0.50%) at 4,071.87, and the S&P 500 increased 2.85 points (0.15%) to 1,878.48. The Russell 2000 climbed 9.79 points (0.89%) to 1,107.22, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 43.40 points (0.22%) higher at 19,867.21. On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with 1.3 advancing issues for every declining issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares changed hands, with a 1.7 to 1 ratio of advancers to decliners. The yields for the 10-year Treasury note and 30-year Treasury bond were 2.625% and 3.469%, respectively. WEEK’S WORTH: For the week ending May 9, the Dow increased 0.43%, the NASDAQ decreased 1.26%, and the S&P 500 slipped 0.14%. The Russell 2000 fell 1.91%, and the Wilshire 5000 finished 0.49% lower.
Rules & Regulators
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received approval from a federal district court to enforce a subpoena against a Wisconsin casino, allowing it to proceed with its investigation of an age discrimination charge filed against the casino by former employee Federico Colón. According to the EEOC, the judge rejected the casino’s argument that it is not an “employer” as defined under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Citing U.S. Supreme Court and appeals court cases, the judge noted that federal statutes generally apply to all persons, including American Indian tribes, except in cases where doing so would negatively impact the autonomy rights essential to a tribe’s self-governance on “purely intramural” matters.
BOK Financial Corporation will settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which alleged discrimination based on both age and gender. The suit alleges the bank fired two managers who were long-time employees because they are female and because they were older than 40.
Financial Sense
DC Participants Favor Fixed Income in April
Aon Hewitt’s 401(k) Index shows April was another light trading month for defined contribution (DC) plan participants. For April, the average daily transfer volume stood at 0.024% of participant balances. While this value is slightly higher than March’s value of 0.021%, it is well below historical daily levels. The index also reveals that when net transfers occurred, DC plan participants favored fixed-income funds for 67% of trading days in April, up from 57% in March.
The World at Large
The Treasury Select Committee (TSC) in the UK has proposed a list of recommendations for the government’s plan for at retirement ‘guidance’ for pension savers.
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE:  In 1780, Americans suffered their worst defeat of the revolution, with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln to British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and his army of 10,000 at Charleston, South Carolina. In 1847, William Clayton invented the odometer. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt’s trip to San Francisco was captured on moving-picture film, making him the first president to have an official activity recorded in that medium. In 1932, the body of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh’s baby was found, more than two months after he was kidnapped from his family’s Hopewell, New Jersey, mansion.In 2000, 19-year-old Adam Petty, son of Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty and grandson of National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) icon Richard Petty, was killed after crashing into a wall during practice for a Grand National race at Loudon, New Hampshire.
SURVEY SAYS: Which TV Mom Do You Have?
Last week, I asked NewsDash readers which TV mom is/was their mom like, and why. From the list provided, 13.9% each chose Claire Huxtable from “The Cosby Show” and Marie Barone from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Eleven percent said their mom is/was like June Cleaver from “Leave It to Beaver.” The other TV moms on the list—Sophia Petrillo from “The Golden Girls,” Roseanne from “Roseanne,” Marge Simpson from “The Simpsons,” Beverly Hofstadter, Leonard’s mom from “The Big Bang Theory,” and Claire Dunphy from “Modern Family”—were each selected by 2.8% of respondents. The biggest percentage of responding readers chose “other,” with the most-cited TV moms being Edith Bunker from “All in the Family” and Ann Romano from “One Day at a Time.” A number of readers shared the personality traits that made them select the TV mom they chose. In verbatim responses, readers chose to share stories or more traits of their mothers. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “God blessed me with the best mom ever. Really no comparison.” Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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