Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
November 16th, 2017
Benefits & Administration
Participants Say More Information About Plan Investment Fees Would Be Useful
In its first report on retirement plan investment fees, The Pew Charitable Trust says it found nearly seven in 10 survey respondents in employer-sponsored retirement plans said they were at least somewhat familiar with their plan’s fees, while 31% were not at all familiar with the fees. Roughly two-thirds had not read any investment fee disclosure in the previous year. Even among those who said they were very familiar with their fees, 33% hadn’t read any fee disclosures in the past year. Roughly four in five participants said it would be at least somewhat useful to have additional information about investment fees. Read more >
Being Ill-Prepared for Retirement a Stressor for Americans
Health care, retirement savings and student loans are the top causes of investor’s financial anxiety, according to a survey by Rubicoin, a digital investment platform provider. Among all investors, mounting health care expenses and bills (23.5%) and a lack of retirement savings (22.6%) are the two biggest contributors of financial anxiousness. For Millennials, student loan debt, credit cards and health care expenses all measured equally as causes for “extreme” amounts of financial stress. Read more >
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Industry Voices
Change the Conversation to Improve Employee Engagement in CDHC Programs
During open enrollment and beyond, employers’ and their advisers’ conversations about engagement in consumer-driven health care needs to change significantly, says John Young, senior vice president, consumerism and strategy, Alegeus. Read more >
Economic Events

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for September, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,389.7 billion, up 1.4% from August and up 6.4% from September 2016, the Census Bureau reported.

 

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $486.6 billion, an increase of 0.2% from the previous month, and 4.6% above October 2016. Retail trade sales were up 0.2% from September, and were up 4.7% from last year. Building Materials and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers were up 8.8% from October 2016, while Gasoline Stations were up 7.5% from last year.

 

In October, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% seasonally adjusted (SA); rising 2.0% over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted (NSA), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in October SA; up 1.8% over the year NSA.

 

Real average hourly earnings decreased 0.1% in October, SA. Average hourly earnings were unchanged, and CPI-U increased 0.1%. Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.1% over the month.

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Adam Hills on The Ayco Approach
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Market Mirror

Wednesday, the Dow fell 138.19 points (0.59%) to 23,271.28, the NASDAQ closed 31.66 points (0.47%) lower at 6.706.21, and the S&P 500 decreased 14.25 points (0.55%) to 2,564.62. The Russell 2000 was down 7.16 points (0.49%) at 1,464.10, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 136.73 points (0.51%) to finish at 26,582.46.

 

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 14/32, bringing its yield down to 2.326%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 1 10/32, decreasing its yield to 2.768%.

Compliance
IRS Announces 2018 Health FSA Limit
In time for open enrollment, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding employers and employees of the health flexible spending account (FSA) limit for 2018. An employee who chooses to participate in an employer’s FSA can contribute up to $2,650 during the 2018 plan year—a $50 increase over 2017. The agency also issued a reminder that a certain amount of FSA assets can be rolled over to the following year. Read more >
Lawmakers Rethink Changes to Deferred Compensation
Both the preliminary versions of the House and Senate tax reform proposals would have made major changes to the treatment of deferred compensation for executives and highly-paid employees. However, following the earliest stages of debate, both the House and the Senate seem to have backed away from major changes to deferred compensation arrangements, as well as from other retirement-industry focused proposals. Read more >
Investing
Participants Split Between Fixed Income and Equities in October Trading
Trading among defined contribution plan investors was moderate in October, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index. There was a 50/50 split of trading days favoring equities and those favoring fixed income. While target-date funds saw net outflows from retirement accounts during the month, they still held the largest percentage of total balances in October and received the largest percentage of contributions. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1776, British troops captured Fort Washington during the American Revolution. In 1907, Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state. In 1915, Coca-Cola had its prototype for a contoured bottle patented. The bottle made its commercial debut the next year. In 1933, the United States and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations for the first time. In 1957, Jim Brown (Cleveland Browns) set an NFL season rushing record of 1163 yards after only eight games. In 1994, Major League Soccer announced that it would start its inaugural season in 1996. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court said that union members could file discrimination lawsuits against employers even when labor contracts require arbitration. In 1999, Johnny Depp received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000, Bill Clinton became the first serving U.S. president to visit Communist Vietnam.

SURVEY SAYS: For the first time in my career, I work for a company that provides both Thanksgiving Day and the day after as paid holidays. This week, I’d like to know, what days off does your employer provide for Thanksgiving and are you asking for more? You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today. Read more >
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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Advertising: Paul Zampitella paul.zampitella@strategic-i.com

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