Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
September 14th, 2018
Throughout September, PLANSPONSOR magazine will be conducting its annual Defined Contribution (DC) Survey of plan sponsors. The comprehensive survey explores plan design trends and recordkeeper satisfaction and helps inform many of our stories, but we need your help for it to be a success. DC plan sponsors of all types and sizes are encouraged to complete the survey before the September 28 deadline. There is no cost to respond. Responses are confidential and findings will only be reported in the aggregate.Read more >
Benefits & Administration
Mercer-Vanguard Health Savings Model Urges Personalized Planning
Vanguard has published a report recounting recent analytical work conducted in collaboration with Mercer Health and Benefits, aimed at helping employers better understand their role in supporting the health care needs of late-career workers and retirees. It suggests that workers with generous employer health care benefits that may not be offered in retirement and those at higher risk of chronic conditions because of their family history or current health status should target higher savings rates.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Measuring the Nuances of Financial Wellness Programs
A new report from MassMutual, “Measuring the Value of Your Financial Wellness Investment,” discusses how employers can gauge the success of their financial wellness programs. “The conventional return on investment (ROI) standard of measure, in which dollars invested can be directly tied to cost savings, provides only a limited view of a program’s success,” MassMutual says.Read more >
House Committee Approves Bill Aimed at Increasing Retirement Plan Coverage
Working Past Age 65 May Seem Like a Great Idea …
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Residents of the Island of Misfit Toys
Employees Don’t Want ‘All or Nothing’ When It Comes to Guaranteed Lifetime Income
2021 Recordkeeping Survey
Economic Events

In August, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2% seasonally adjusted (SA); rising 2.7% over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted (NSA), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.1% in August, SA; up 2.2% over the year, NSA.

In the week ending September 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 204,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 203,000 to 205,000. The 4-week moving average was 208,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 209,500 to 210,000.

Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow closed 147.07 points (0.57%) higher at 26,145.99, the NASDAQ gained 59.48 points (0.75%) to finish at 8,013.71, and the S&P 500 was up 15.26 points (0.53%) at 2,904.18. The Russell 2000 closed 1.38 points (0.08%) lower at 1,714.32, and the Wilshire 5000 increased 128.34 points (0.43%) to 30,245.40.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 3/32, increasing its yield to 2.976%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 5/32, bringing its yield up 3.113%.

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Congressional Democrats Continue Butch Lewis Act Advocacy
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the cost of implementing the Butch Lewis Act legislation, which offers a way to preserve union retiree pension benefits through an emergency loan program funded with proceeds from Treasury bonds, at approximately $34 billion over the 2019 to 2028 period. According to Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives, this amount is less than half of what they estimate to be the likely cost of propping up the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) severely stressed multiemployer pension insurance program, should no other corrective actions be taken.Read more >
PBGC Finalizes Rules Aimed at Facilitating Multiemployer Plan Mergers
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has finalized guidance on mergers and transfers between multiemployer plans, publishing a final rule in the Federal Register. Mergers of multiemployer plans, PBGC says, will help protect the benefits earned by workers and retirees and extend the solvency of troubled plans. “Merged plans may save money from lower administration and investment expenses and provide greater stability by expanding the base of employers that contribute to the plan,” says PBGC Director Tom Reeder.Read more >
Investment Product and Service Launches
Securian incorporates custom investment models and American Century expands ETF suite.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1807, former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge. Two weeks earlier Burr had been found innocent of treason. In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner,” a poem originally known as “Defense of Fort McHenry,” after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Maryland, during the War of 1812. In 1847, U.S. forces took control of Mexico City under the leadership of General Winfield Scott. In 1866, George K. Anderson patented the typewriter ribbon. In 1901, U.S. President William McKinley died of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, succeeded him. In 1940, the Selective Service Act was passed by Congress providing the first peacetime draft in the United States. In 1948, in New York, a groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the United Nations’ world headquarters. In 1960, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded. The core members were Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. In 1963, Mary Ann Fischer gave birth to America’s first surviving quintuplets. In 1972, “The Waltons” premiered on CBS-TV. In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint. In 1978, “Mork & Mindy” premiered on ABC-TV. In 1984, Joe Kittinger became the first person to fly a balloon solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1999, Disney World closed down for the first time in its 28-year history. The closure was due to Hurricane Floyd heading for Florida. In 1999, it was announced that “US” magazine would change from monthly to weekly and change its name to “USWeekly.” In 2001, the FBI released the names of the 19 suspected hijackers that had taken part in the September 11 terror attacks on the U.S.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!


A man who thought to stop and buy his dog, Boots, a snack—Slim Jims at a Cumberland Farms convenience store—also bought a winning $10 million scratch-off lottery ticket. Seventy-three-year-old Dale Farrand, of Fort Edward, New York, says he’ll use the money to pay off and mortgage and help his children and grandchildren. Maybe Boots’ next snack should be steak.


In Kansas City, Missouri, a worker at a convenience store spotted a suspicious looking gadget at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop and called 911. After police spent two hours investigating this plastic container, officers determined it was a high school student’s science experiment meant to demonstrate how hydrogen can be used as power. The student who built the project demonstrated it to friends inside the store and had left it behind the store so other friends could enjoy it.


In Shannonville, Ontario, three thieves attempted to raid a Canadian pot shop, spraying bear mace at two store employees. According to the Huffington Post, a male worker—who had been gushed with the mace—aimed a bong at the robbers to fend them off, using the device as a weapon. His strategy was a hit, as it prompted the burglars to retrieve and run away without any of the store’s merchandise.


As it turns out, a string of emergency services callers in Harrisville, Mississippi, weren’t jumping to conclusions. As the AP reports, the Simpson County sheriff’s office says deputies have been looking out for an escaped kangaroo. The missing marsupial has been sighted several times this week, including once by a woman who initially reported seeing a deer running around on two legs. According to the AP, no one has been able to catch the kangaroo “because he’s just too fast.”


Philadelphians should be just as relieved as Insectarium CEO John Cambridge when his stolen live collection is found. Not only were the Philadelphia Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion’s 7,000 arthropods worth $40,000 to $50,000, the venom of one—the six-eyed sand spider—could rot 25% of its victim’ body. Based on the staff uniforms knifed to the wall, authorities think some terminated workers committed the heist.


Have a great weekend!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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