Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
November 18th, 2015
PLANSPONSOR Research
PLANSPONSOR 2015 Defined Contribution Survey
PLANSPONSOR’S much anticipated annual Defined Contribution Survey measures and evaluates the satisfaction levels of 401(k) and other DC providers according to feedback from their plan sponsor clients. Major defined contribution providers are rated in 23 areas of participant/sponsor services. The information collected is intended for plan sponsors to gauge their plans against their peers.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
States Planning to Offer Retirement Plans
Four states—California, Illinois, Oregon and Washington—have passed laws paving the way to offer state-run retirement plans, and 18 additional states are considering such a measure. The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its guidance about state-run plans. Written comments for the proposed new rule are due to the DOL by January 19, 2016, and they are bound to be varied. Industry insiders are divided about whether this is a good idea.Read more >
MOST READ ARTICLES

2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year
Administration
How to Effectively Measure Retirement Plan Success
Administration
A Checklist for Retirement Plan Committees
Not a big surprise, but health insurance plans have consistently topped the list of workers’ most precious employer-sponsored benefits in the last two decades, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), even outpacing favorability of tax-qualified retirement plans. A new report from EBRI, “Views on the Value of Voluntary Workplace Benefits: Findings from the 2015 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey,” penned by EBRI researcher Paul Fronstin and Ruth Helman at Greenwald & Associates, reviews decades of benefits usage data and assesses what the future might have in store. The research shows “consistency in the value of some benefits and substantial change in the value of others,” EBRI says.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Paychex, Inc. has added new tools and resources to the Paychex Insurance Agency (PIA) Personal Marketplace, a private insurance exchange that provides a way for employers who are not required to offer a group plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help their employees gain access to coverage, and avoid increasing penalties for non-coverage under the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase health insurance.Read more >
Economic Events

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2% in October after decreasing 0.2% in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in October, the same increase as in September.

Real average hourly earnings increased 0.2% in October, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings increased 0.4%, and CPI-U increased 0.2%. Real average weekly earnings increased 0.2% over the month.

Market Mirror

Tuesday, the Dow was up 6.49 points (0.04%) at 17,489.50, the NASDAQ increased by 1.40 (0.03%) to 4,986.02, and the S&P 500 was down 2.78 points (0.14%) at 2,050.41. The Russell 2000 decreased 2.88 points (0.25%) to 1,153.20, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 34.09 points (0.16%) lower at 21,300.74.

On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares changed hands, with 1.7 declining issues for every advancing issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.7 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 1/32, decreasing its yield to 2.266%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 4/32, bringing its yield down to 3.056%.

Compliance
Industry Questions Wisdom of PBGC Rate Hikes
Following the debate and approval of the Bipartisan Budget Act in recent weeks, sponsors of defined benefit plans are facing the unsavory prospect, yet again, of dramatic increases in Pension Benefit and Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) default insurance premiums. This newly programed series of increases comes on top of the significant premium hikes plan sponsors have already had to absorb in recent years, says Cammack Retirement Group Managing Actuary Art Scalise. He says pension plan clients have voiced a range of strong emotions—even a sense of betrayal.Read more >
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a notice of public hearing about proposed regulations relating to the administration of a multiemployer plan participant vote on an approved suspension of benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA). The hearing will specifically address rules concerning the participant vote on an approved suspension of benefits under MPRA.Read more >
PBGC Programs’ Deficits Continue to Climb
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC’s) multiemployer insurance program reported a negative net position or “deficit” of $52.3 billion, compared with $42.4 billion last fiscal year-end, according to the agency’s 2015 fiscal year Annual Report. In addition, the single-employer program deficit increased to $24.1 billion, up from $19.3 billion reported in the previous year. The agency explained reasons for the deficit increases.Read more >
From the Magazine
Pension de-risking activity by plan sponsors has become a hot topic in the benefits area. The focus on de-risking has arisen from the increased longevity of participants and volatility in investment returns, which create risks that the plan’s assets will fall short. A common complaint by those against employers transferring pension plan liabilities to an insurer is the argument that participants lose fiduciary protections and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage upon the transfer.Read more >
Ask the Experts
Correction for 403(b) Mandatory Contribution Failures
“Our 403(b) plan has an employee mandatory contribution feature that is a condition of employment. We recently changed payroll systems, which resulted in a failure to withhold mandatory contributions from several employee paychecks until the error was discovered. I looked to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance about the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), but there appears to be no mention of employee mandatory contributions in EPCRS at all. Am I missing something?”Read more >
Small Talk
More than half (55%) of Americans plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, according to Ebates 2015 Holiday survey. The survey results show 48% of Americans plan to shop on Black Friday, and 42% plan on shopping on Cyber Monday. There were varied reasons repondents choose to begin holiday shopping on Thanksgiving.Read more >

ON THIS DATE: In 1883, the U.S. and Canada adopted a system of standard time zones. In 1886, former President Chester Alan Arthur succumbed to complications from a debilitating and fatal kidney ailment known as Bright’s disease. In 1928, the first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon premiered in New York. It was Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse. In 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. and Alan L. Bean landed on the lunar surface during the second manned mission to the moon. In 1978, Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones led hundreds of his followers in a mass murder-suicide at their agricultural commune in a remote part of the South American nation of Guyana.

 

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: “A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.”—Groucho Marx, comedian and actor

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

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