Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
September 15th, 2017
Benefits and Administration
The TPA Landscape Is Changing
When describing the torrent of regulatory changes, shifts in consumer expectations, the pace of technology development and the race to the bottom on fees that is dramatically changing the third-party administrator (TPA) market, the words “overwhelming” and “relentless” seem appropriate. There have been a rash of third-party administrator (TPA) acquisitions recently, and TPAs are offering new services.Read more >
Financial Wellness Programs Critical to Avoid Lost Productivity
PwC says there is a great need for financial wellness programs, as 53% of employees feel financially stressed, and this costs employers with 10,000 workers $3.3 million a year in lost productivity.Read more >
MOSERS Announces Lump-Sum Offering for Certain Members
Pension risk transfer (PRT) moves are often reported for corporate defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors, but a state-sponsored pension plan has now announced the offering of a lump-sum window. This month, the Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS) will send letters to 17,000 former Missouri state employees who are eligible for a future monthly retirement benefit informing them of their option to cash out their future retirement annuity as a lump-sum payment now rather than wait until they reach retirement eligibility.Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches
Goldman Sachs launches new ETF; Betterment rolls out smart beta portfolio; and GRP partners with Envestnet to launch CIT suite.Read more >
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
IRS Updates Life Expectancy Tables for Retirees
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which are the most northern, southern, eastern and western U.S. States?
NAGDCA Offers Free Retirement Plan Communications Campaign
In anticipation of National Retirement Security Week, which is October 15 to 21 this year, the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA) is offering a free, ready-to-use communications campaign for retirement plan sponsors. The “Your Whole Story” campaign, which can be used by public- and private-sector plan sponsors, is designed to engage employees in a discussion about their overall financial decision-making, with an emphasis on their retirement savings decisions.Read more >
Fidelity to Launch Student Loan Repayment Benefit
Fidelity has launched the Student Debt Employer Contribution program, which enables employers to make after-tax contributions towards their workers’ student loans. Fidelity will pilot the program in the fourth quarter and do a full rollout in 2018.Read more >
Sponsored message from Vanguard
Target-Date Funds: Built to Weather Volatility
Uncertainty is often the cause of knee-jerk reactions by investors. Many DC plan sponsors select target-date funds (TDFs) as their plan’s qualified default investment alternative to curb emotional investing.Read more >
Economic Events

In August, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4% seasonally adjusted; rising 1.9% over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted (NSA), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in August (SA); up 1.7% over the year, NSA.

Real average hourly earnings decreased 0.3% in August, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings increased 0.1%, and CPI-U increased 0.4%. Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.6% over the month.

In the week ending September 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 284,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 298,000, the Labor Department announced. The four-week moving average was 263,250, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 250,250. This is the highest level for this average since August 13, 2016 when it was 263,250. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted this week’s initial claims.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.78%, unchanged from one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.08%, also unchanged.

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow increased 45.30 points (0.20%) to 22,203.48, the NASDAQ lost 31.10 points (0.48%) to finish at 6,429.08, and the S&P 500 was down 2.75 points (0.11%) at 2,495.62. The Russell 2000 decreased by 1.87 (0.13%) to 1,425.02, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 23.88 points (0.09%) lower at 25,896.91.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was down 1/32, increasing its yield to 2.194%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond was up 12/32, decreasing its yield to 2.769%.

From the Magazine
Rethinking Loan Repayments
A plan sponsor lets participants pay back loans after leaving their job.Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1776, British forces occupied New York City during the American Revolution. In 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State. In 1853, Reverend Antoinette Brown Blackwell was ordained, becoming first female minister in the United States. In 1857, Timothy Alder earned a patent for the typesetting machine. In 1858, the first mail service began to the Pacific Coast of the U.S. under government contract. Coaches from the Butterfield Overland Mail Company took 12 days to make the journey between Tipton, Missouri, and San Francisco. In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin in the mold Penicillium notatum. In 1940, the German Luftwaffe suffered the loss of 185 planes in the Battle of Britain. The change in tide forced Hitler to abandon his plans for invading Britain. In 1949, “The Lone Ranger” premiered on ABC. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels was Tonto. In 1950, U.N. forces landed at Inchon, Korea, in an attempt to relieve South Korean forces and recapture Seoul. In 1965, “Green Acres” premiered on CBS TV. In 1982, the first issue of “USA Today” was published. In 1997, the domain name “” was registered.

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Sibling rivalry begins at such a young age.Read more >
This dog is getting his aerobics on!Read more >

The season premiere of the show South Park this week parodied the proliferation of the new “smart speaker” devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, which allow users to speak aloud in order to set alarms, get answers to questions and even play music. Many Twitter users reported the South Park characters’ voices set off their own, real-world devices while they watched the show.


In Denville, New Jersey, police say they were called to a Burger King restaurant last Friday night for a woman going into labor. They say the parents were on the way to the hospital but got stuck in traffic and had to pull over. Officers and emergency responders then helped the woman deliver a healthy son. According to the Associate Press, the same patrol officers went back to the restaurant the next night for a report of another woman going into labor. Authorities say the couple was heading to the hospital when the woman started going through severe contractions. Officers helped deliver another baby boy in the couple’s vehicle.


In DeWitt, Michigan, a real estate agent selling a house next to a cemetery is promoting it with a sign that says “quiet neighbors.” He says the message immediately came to mind when he saw the four-bedroom house. He told the Lansing State Journal that he hadn’t previously used humor to market a house. But he says “there’s not much point to life” without some fun.


In Covina, California, a man walked into a pizza restaurant with intentions to rob it. However, the place had just been robbed three hours earlier and there was still a police officer on site providing help. The owner, who was cleaning up after the first burglary flagged that officer and the second would-be burglar was arrested.


In Easton, Pennsylvania, police say a man’s GPS led him to drive down a bike path in a park. However, the path narrowed, so the owner tried to turn around. He couldn’t go that way either due to a tunnel under a low bridge. The (Easton) Express-Times reports the motorist’s car rolled off the path and wound up in the Lehigh River.


In London, England, a family discovered a 7-inch long, 2-inch wide, pink, striped item under a bed in their home. They feared it was a dangerous lizard. According to Reuters, they called an animal welfare charity to capture it. An animal collection officer from the charity said she warily approached the “lizard” after being alerted to its presence. She said it wasn’t very light so she got out her torch to see better and realized… it was a dirty sock.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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