Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
May 8th, 2015
Benefits & Administration
Self-Funding, Stop-Loss Insurance Gaining Attraction
One could certainly see the attractiveness of fully insured health benefits—employers know their set costs each month and can budget for them, and responsibility for administration and paying claims is handed over to insurance carriers. However, increasing health care costs and requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are leading more employers to consider self-funding their health benefits. “In many, if not most, cases, a properly organized self-insurance program with appropriate stop-loss coverage will be cheaper than a fully insured program,” says Joseph Berardo, CEO of MagnaCare, a New York and New Jersey heath care network, based in Red Bank, New Jersey. There are administrative and other fees built into premium costs, he notes.Read more >
Products, Deals & People
International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP has named Elizabeth Deckman partner in the benefits and compensation group of its Seattle office. Deckman’s practice focuses on advising companies regarding employee benefits and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).Read more >
Podcast Series Explores Real Estate in DC Plans
The Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC) launched a podcast series aimed at educating plan sponsors and advisers about the potential benefits and risks of using commercial real estate investments. The first two podcasts in the series are available now and feature David Skinner, portfolio manager and head of the defined contribution practice at Prudential Real Estate Investors, who is also a former co-president of DCREC. According to Skinner, adding commercial real estate to a portfolio can bring improved diversification, stronger risk-adjusted returns and lower overall correlation to stocks and bonds. Skinner suggests commercial real estate also has the ability to generate income and act as a potential inflation hedge in the defined contribution plan context.Read more >
Transamerica Retirement Solutions has adopted RiskFirst’s real-time analytics and reporting platform, PFaroe, for use in coordination with plan sponsor clients and its advisory partners. RiskFirst’s PFaroe solution allows Transamerica clients to monitor and review defined benefit (DB) plan funding positions on a daily basis. It also allows advisers and sponsors to work together to do deep dives into DB plan risk—including value-at-risk (VaR) interrogation, what-if analysis, and stress-testing against historic market events.Read more >
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Economic Events

In the week ending May 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 265,000, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 262,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 279,500, a decrease of 4,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 283,750. This is the lowest level for this average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.80%, up from 3.68% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.02%, up from 2.94%.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow closed 82.08 points (0.46%) higher at 17,924.06, the NASDAQ climbed 25.90 points (0.53%) to 4,945.54, and the S&P 500 increased 7.85 points (0.38%) to 2,088.00. The Russell 2000 gained 6.18 points (0.51%) to finish at 1,225.54, and the Wilshire 5000 was up 81.02 points (0.37%) at 22,048.11.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with 1.4 advancing issues for every declining issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with a 1.2 to 1 lead for advancers.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 17/32, decreasing its yield to 2.184%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 1 17/32, bringing its yield down to 2.913%.

Compliance
Firm Investigating IBM 401(k) Plan
Zamansky LLC has commenced an investigation of International Business Machine Inc.’s (IBM) 401(k) Plus Plan for possible violations of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The law firm says ERISA fiduciary duties to prudently manage and invest plan assets were potentially violated by IBM’s continued offering of its company stock while it allegedly knew that the stock price was artificially inflated.Read more >
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a webinar discussing employer shared responsibility and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)-required information reporting by employers and providers of minimum essential coverage.Read more >
EPCRS Updates Good News for Plan Sponsors
Retirement plan sponsors are seeing changes to the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), which allows corrections to plan document form and plan operation errors. The updates ultimately make it easier and potentially less expensive to correct common plan errors. In recent weeks, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Revenue Procedure 2015-27 and Revenue Procedure 2015-28. Both make amendments to the Self-Correction Program (SCP), Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) and Audit Closing Agreement Program (Audit CAP). The primary intention of Revenue Procedure 2015-27 is to correct plan overpayments, while also addressing other minor changes.Read more >
From the Magazine
How Will You Benchmark Your Plan This Year?
Anyone who has experience working with retirement plans knows there are myriad metrics that speak to all the moving parts of an employer-sponsored savings program—but it takes considerable expertise to shape that torrent of data into a true snapshot of plan performance. With that in mind, there is a general rule of thumb sponsors can use to identify the most important benchmarks for their plans, says Tom Kmak, CEO and co-founder of Fiduciary Benchmarks in Scottsdale, Arizona.Read more >
As part of its ongoing plan review, an investment committee should examine how its participants’ investments are allocated and, quite possibly, decide whether to automatically enroll or re-enroll employees to improve diversification. As sponsors become more attuned to the importance of retirement readiness, it is critical that they consider the correct “asset allocation based on age and risk tolerance,” says Andrew Prevost, president of Meltzer Retirement Plan Services.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1541, south of present-day Memphis, Tennessee, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River, one of the first European explorers to ever do so. In 1794, the United States Post Office was established. In 1847, the rubber tire was patented by Robert W. Thompson. In 1884, Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri. In 1886, pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton invented what would later be called “Coca-Cola.” In 1914, the U.S. Congress passed a Joint Resolution that designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. In 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine. In 1956, Alfred E. Neuman appeared on the cover of “Mad Magazine” for the first time.  In 1963, Sean Connery starred in the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No.” In 1976, the theme song from Welcome Back, Kotter reached No. 1 on the pop singles chart. In 1984, Joanie (Erin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) got married on ABC-TV’s “Happy Days.” In 1985, “New Coke” was released to the public on the 99th anniversary of Coca-Cola. In 1997, Larry King received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1999, the first female cadet graduated from The Citadel military college.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

When you excuse yourself from a city council meeting, you might want to turn off your microphone.Read more >
A thief’s bike heist was foiled as the owner was apparently watching out the window.Read more >

In Los Angeles, California, authorities questioned the back-injury disability pay for a police officer after seeing a new video. The video posted online shows the officer picking up a 5-gallon bucket of ice water and pour it over a fellow officer. According to the Associated Press, the officer has pled guilty to insurance fraud.

In Boston, Massachusetts, a woman participating in the Boston Marathon was dared by her daughter to kiss a random, good-looking guy as she ran through the town of Wellesley, where the women of Wellesley College traditionally offer kisses to runners. She did, and the kiss had such an effect on her that her daughter took to social media to try to find the man. They finally received a letter—from the man’s wife. According to the local FOX News station, the unidentified man’s wife said the attention was fun but that the couple wanted to remain anonymous. The letter was kind and gracious, and there are no hard feelings between the two women.

In Hamilton, Pennsylvania, a jailed man on the verge of gaining his freedom was put back behind bars. According to NJ.com, as he was going through the process of being released, the man punched two corrections officers. The news report did not say why.

In Detroit, Michigan, a man busted through the wall of a liquor store, but realized there was a wrinkle in his plan and left. According to the Detroit Free Press, the suspect can be seen on surveillance video knocking a hole through the outer wall and climbing in. Once inside, he discovered that he was stuck in a storage area of the store and couldn’t gain access to its interior. Police are looking for the man.Read more >

In Hefei, Anhui province, China, a 21-year-old man collapsed onto the pavement outside an internet café. According to The Telegraph, a cleaning lady at the café said she had seen the man stagger out of the building following a two-week online binge during which he had chain-smoked, repeatedly dodged showers and eaten almost nothing. When paramedics arrived to take the man to hospital he reportedly told them: “Leave me alone and turn on the computer for me. I want to surf the internet.”

In Erwin, North Carolina, a couple was driving with their dog in their truck when something spooked the dog. UPI reports that the dog retreated to the floor of the driver’s side and sat all of her 90-plus pounds on the gas pedal. The wife, who was driving, steered the truck towards a fence in hopes of stopping it. Instead, they ended up in someone’s swimming pool.

In Platte, South Dakota, two candidates split the vote for mayor in April. According to the Associated Press, an old state statute says certain elections can be determined by a high card draw or a roll of the dice. The incumbent mayor picked dice as his game of choice. His opponent rolled a seven to become Platte’s mayor for the next two years, while the incumbent rolled a four.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms!
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the Dash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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