Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
May 12th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Employer HSA Usage More Prevalent, but Enrollment Could Be Boosted
Employers continue to seek health care cost savings through consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) with health savings accounts (HSAs), and the less popular health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), according to survey data from United Benefit Advisors (UBA). Its research found 35.1% of all plans offer an HSA or HRA, which is up from 34% in 2015. However, average HSA enrollment is 17% compared to a 24.6% prevalence rate, and the gap is more striking among large groups.  Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Morgan Stanley changes fund offerings; Data Science Partners develops downside-risk protection model; and more.  Read more >
IRS Updates Life Expectancy Tables for Retirees
Recent TDF Performance Lawsuits Raise Insurer Ire
Ask the Experts
Should Each Recordkeeper Use Its Own Plan Document?
Industry Voices
The Next Evolution in Indexing: DC Plans and Smart Beta
Smart beta seeks additional outperformance and is a flexible enhancement to traditional index. Anne Ackerley, head of BlackRock’s US & Canada Defined Contribution Group, discusses what defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors should consider.  Read more >
Economic Events
In the week ending May 6, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 236,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 238,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 243,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 243,000. 

The Producer Price Index for final demand advanced 0.5% in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced. Final demand prices edged down 0.1% in March and climbed 0.3% in February. In April, the final demand services index increased 0.4%, and prices for final demand goods rose 0.5%.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.05%, up from 4.02% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.29%, up from 3.27%.

Market Mirror
Thursday, the Dow closed 23.69 points (0.11%) lower at 20,919.42, the NASDAQ decreased 13.18 points (0.22%) to 6,115.96, and the S&P 500 was down 5.19 points (0.22%) at 2,394.44. The Russell 2000 lost 9.39 points (0.67%) to finish at 1,390.19, and the Wilshire 5000 fell 71.84 points (0.29%) to 24,905.72.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 8/32, bringing its yield down to 2.393%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 7/32, decreasing its yield to 3.030%.

DOL Brings Fiduciary Responsibility Seminar to Illinois
The Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has announced its compliance assistance program, Getting It Right – Know Your Fiduciary Responsibilities seminar, will be held in Springfield, Illinois, on June 21.  Read more >
Fixed-Income Holdings Should Inform TDF Series Selection
Fixed-income investments play a crucial role in overall target-date fund (TDF) performance, but a new report suggests plan sponsors spend far more time thinking about the equity side.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1780, Charleston, South Carolina fell to British forces. In 1847, William Clayton invented the odometer. In 1926, the airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole. In 1950, the American Bowling Congress abolished its white males-only membership restriction after 34 years. In 1957, A.J. Foyt won his first auto racing victory in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1978, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it would no longer exclusively name hurricanes after women. In 2002, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba for a visit with Fidel Castro. It was the first time a U.S. head of state, in or out of office, had gone to the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution. In 2015, it was announced that Verizon would be acquiring AOL.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Pulling down this tree didn’t go as planned (so funny).  Read more >
Her mom totally video bombs her dance video.  Read more >
Apparently, floor gaps scare this vacuum cleaner.  Read more >
New information from Wakefield Research found one in 10 couples (married or unmarried) ended their relatively recent relationships over disagreements about President Donald Trump. Young people are statistically even more susceptible to this trend, with 22% splitting.


At a lake in Orlando, Florida, a 10-year old girl was sitting in a designated swim area when an 8-foot, 9 inch long alligator latched onto her leg. The brave girl fought back, first by poking the alligator in its nose and then by pulling down on its lower jaw, which freed her leg, ABC News reported. The girl said she learned the escape tactics during a visit to Gatorland, a local wildlife attraction.


In Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania, a woman decided to walk rather than drive after a night drinking. According to The Tribune-Review, she ended up at a stranger’s house, where she tried — and failed — to enter through a window. She then successfully climbed through the window of a nearby home. The home’s owner noticed the window open, became alarmed and called police. Officers found the woman sleeping in a bed.


In Danville, Indiana, some daring deer approached a group of hunters. One was so unafraid that it licked the barrel of a shotgun and allowed one of the men to stroke its neck. According to the Associated Press, one of the hunters said the young animals didn’t have their mother with them “to teach them what is dangerous.” The men were hunting turkey.


In Aberdeen, UK, a college student left a pineapple on a table at an art expedition as a prank. According to the UK’s Metro, the student returned four days later to find it had been put in a glass display box. “We were shocked and in disbelief. We didn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes,” he said. “It lasted there until Wednesday evening, until the rest of the display was taken away and it was the last thing left.”


In Flathead County, Montana, a police blotter reports that a Columbia Falls man called to report that his neighbor’s dog is a jerk.


Have a happy weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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