Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
October 21st, 2016
Benefits & Administration
With the 2016 election right around the corner, employers are gearing up for proposed changes and taking a stance on different policy platforms. Protecting the tax-favored status of employer-sponsored health and retirement plans is a key concern, a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits finds.Read more >
SOA Updates Mortality Improvement Scale
The Society of Actuaries (SOA) released its annually-updated  mortality improvement scale for pension plans, MP-2016, incorporating three additional years of Social Security Administration (SSA) data on U.S. population mortality. The updated improvement scale suggests U.S. mortality continues to improve, but at a slower average rate of improvement than previous years, which may decrease pension plan obligations slightly.Read more >
Award Nominations
The nomination deadline for the 2017 PLANSPONSOR Plan Sponsor of the Year Awards is approaching.Read more >
Ask the Experts
Can Participants Elect to Designate Employer Contributions as Roth or Pretax?
Data and Research
Public Service Workers Face Retirement, Financial Security Concerns
Data and Research
Retirement Account Balances Dipped 20% in 2022, Trading Lowest in 20 Years
Products, Deals and People
The Principal Financial Group has added new features to My Virtual Coach, its retirement plan enrollment assistance tool. A newly launched conversation provides participants with an annual checkup to help track their progress and give their retirement strategy a once-over.Read more >
Burrmont Compliance Labs LLC announced enhancements to The Fiduciary Responsibility eSource. The publication’s searchable database for plan sponsors and advisers now includes an extensive discussion of the Department of Labor’s (DOL)’s new conflicted advice rule, best interest contract (BIC) exemption and other new and amended prohibited transaction exemptions.Read more >
Investment Products and Services Launches
Prudential reduces fees on mutual funds; Beaumont Capital Management releases smart beta series; and Ivy launches NextShares exchange-traded managed funds.Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending October 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 260,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 247,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 251,750, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 249,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.52%, up from 3.47% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.79%, up from 2.76%.

Existing-home sales rebounded strongly in September and were propelled by sales from first-time buyers reaching a 34% share, which is a high not seen in over four years, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions saw an increase in closings last month, and distressed sales fell to a new low of 4% of the market. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, hiked 3.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million in September from a downwardly revised 5.30 million in August. After last month’s gain, sales are at their highest pace since June (5.57 million) and are 0.6% above a year ago (5.44 million).
Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow fell 40.27 points (0.22%) to 18,162.35, the NASDAQ closed 4.58 points (0.09%) lower at 5,241.83, and the S&P 500 decreased 2.95 points (0.14%) to 2,141.34. The Russell 2000 was down 2.86 points (0.23%) at 1,219.78, and the Wilshire 5000 lost 40.78 points (0.18%) to finish at 22,263.42.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, with 1.4 declining issues for every advancing issue. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares changed hands, with a slight lead for decliners.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 3/32, increasing its yield to 1.754%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 4/32, decreasing its yield to 2.502%.
PBGC Updates Website With New Premium Rates
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has updated its website with new premium rates for defined benefit (DB) plans for 2017. Increases in the premiums was provided for in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.Read more >
From the Magazine
Plan Size and the Fiduciary Rule
Data from the upcoming 2016 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey illustrates that there has been significant growth in the small-plan segment. The growth in plans with fewer than 100 employees has been 137% over the last 10 years. The growth in small plans may have some link to the recent fiduciary, or conflict of interest, rule from the Department of Labor (DOL) that affects how advisers may be compensated and how they may give advice.Read more >
Managed Account Innovations Call for Second Look
Some providers are encouraging a type of hybrid approaching bringing together the best of both TDFs and managed accounts.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1797, “Old Ironsides,” the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, was launched in Boston’s harbor. In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the electric incandescent lamp. It would last 13 1/2 hours before it would burn out. In 1917, the first U.S. soldiers entered combat during World War I near Nancy, France. In 1918, Margaret Owen set a typing speed record of 170 words per minute on a manual typewriter. In 1927, in New York City, construction began on the George Washington Bridge. In 1959, the Guggenheim Museum was opened to the public in New York. In 1967, thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C., in opposition to the Vietnam War. In 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series. In 1994, North Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement requiring North Korea to halt its nuclear program and agree to inspections. In 1998, the New York Yankees set a major league baseball record of 125 victories for the regular and postseason combined. In 1998, cancer specialist Dr. Jane Henney became the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)’s first female commissioner. In 2003, North Korea rejected U.S. President George W. Bush’s offer of a written pledge not to attack in exchange for the communist nation agreeing to end its nuclear weapons program.


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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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