Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
November 4th, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Small Pension Plan Sponsors Embrace PRT Transactions
Nearly 85% of pension plans paying Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums have less than 1,000 participants—so it only makes sense that small plans make up a significant proportion of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) industry’s annual risk transfer business. Read more >
Wellbeing Focus Not Just Cost But Improving Productivity
Companies are rounding out their wellbeing offerings, particularly recognizing the negative effects of poor financial wellbeing, with two-thirds seeing lowered productivity as a direct impact, and half citing increased absence from work due to financial distractions, a study finds. Read more >
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2021 Plan Sponsor of the Year
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Talk to Us
If you are a defined contribution (DC) plan sponsor that has added environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments in your plan since the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance in 2015, we would love to speak with you about your decisions and reactions of participants. If you’re willing to share your story, please email Rebecca Moore at Rebecca.Moore@strategic-i.com.
Products, Deals and People
New Adviser Firm Serves University Employees
A team of wealth managers based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has opened the doors to Provizr, an investment advisory firm established to help university employees manage their school-sponsored retirement accounts. The company will help individuals with their 403(b), 401(a) and/or 457(b) plans. Read more >
Investment Products and Service Launches
Vanguard Innovation Center to Open in 2017; and Morningstar Launches Open Indexes Project with Free Access to Global Equity Indexes. Read more >
Economic Events

New orders for manufactured goods in September, up three consecutive months, increased $1.4 billion or 0.3% to $455.5 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced. Shipments, up six of the last seven months, increased $3.9 billion or 0.8% to $463.0 billion. Unfilled orders, down four consecutive months, decreased $4.3 billion or 0.4% to $1,118.8 billion. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.69, down from 6.79 in August. Inventories, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.2 billion or virtually unchanged to $621.4 billion.

In the week ending October 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 265,000, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 258,000, the Department of Labor (DOL) reported. The four-week moving average was 257,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 253,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.54%, up from 3.47% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.84%, up from 2.78%. 

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow closed 28.97 points (0.16%) lower at 17,930.67, the NASDAQ lost 47.16 points (0.92%) to finish at 5,058.41, and the S&P 500 decreased 9.28 points (0.44%) to 2,088.66. The Russell 2000 was down 5.64 points (0.49%) at 1,156.88, and the Wilshire 5000 fell 104.08 points (0.48%) to 21,615.03.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares changed hands, with 3 declining issues for every 2 advancing issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares traded, with a near 2 to 1 lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 2/32, increasing its yield to 1.812%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 23/32, bringing its yield up to 2.602%. 

From the Magazine
DC Plan Multi-Asset Funds
Defined contribution (DC) plans have been transformed in the past 10 years, as sponsors have moved away from offering participants a wide, and sometimes baffling, range of investment choices. The current fashion of plan design favors a first tier of diversified investment solutions accompanied by a simplified set of individual funds for those participants who want to structure portfolios on their own. Simplifying the second-tier choices can reveal gaps in the core menu, however, and to fill them sponsors are turning to diversified funds that invest across several asset classes, often in nontraditional ways. Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1846, a patent for an artificial leg was granted to Benjamin Palmer. In 1847, Scottish obstetrician James Young Simpson discovered the anesthetic qualities of chloroform. In 1880, James and John Ritty patented the first cash register. In 1922, in Egypt, Howard Carter discovered the entry of the lost tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. In 1924, Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected America’s first woman governor so she could serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross. In 1939, at the 40th National Automobile Show, the first air-conditioned car was put on display. In 1952, in the United States, the National Security Agency (NSA) was established. In 1979, Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage (90 total hostages). The militants, mostly students, demanded that the U.S. send the former shah back to Iran to stand trial. Many hostages were later released, but 52 were held for the next 14 months. In 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, California. In 1999, the United Nations imposed economic sanctions against the Taliban that controlled most of Afghanistan. The sanctions were imposed because the Taliban had refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, who had been charged with masterminding the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES

This Jeep owner is prepared if someone steals his parking space. Read more >
A weather forecaster played a scary Halloween prank on viewers. Read more >

In Portland, Oregon, a woman realized her red Subaru was missing from her driveway. She and her husband watched their home’s security footage and saw a woman leisurely texting before getting in her car and driving off. They called police. The next day she found the car in her driveway along with a note and $30 for gas money. Apparently, another woman had sent a friend to pick up her red Subaru at a nearby address and the friend took the wrong car. According to The Cut, the note said, “So sorry I stole your car. I did not see the car until this morning and I said, ‘that is not my car.’ There is some cash for gas and I more than apologize for the shock and upset this must have caused you.”

In Kiev, Ukraine, a man has officially changed his name to iPhone 7 after an electronics store offered the latest Apple product to the first five people who did that. The 20-year old got the coveted prize last Friday. According to the Associated Press, he said he might change back to his original name, Olexander Turin, when he has children. The price of phone starts at $850 in Ukraine, while the name changes costs the equivalent of $2.

In Manhattan, Kansas, a Kansas State University student got in his car and found a note. “Saw Kit Kat in your cup holder. I love Kit Kats so I checked your door and it was unlocked. Did not take anything other than the Kit-Kat. I am sorry and hungry,” a thief wrote on a napkin. The student tweeted a photo of the note and the makers of Kit Kat offered to replace it for him, The Huffington Post reports.

In Jamaica Queens, New York, a woman hit the jackpot on a slot machine which displayed her winnings as $42,949,672. However, when she returned the next day, the casino told her it was a machine malfunction. The New York State Gaming Commission confirmed the malfunction, according to CNN. Instead, the casino offered her a free steak dinner. An attorney is fighting to get the casino to pay the woman the maximum amount allowed by the slot machine—$6,500.

 

Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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

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