Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
September 18th, 2014
Benefit Briefs
Financial Wellness Helps with Retirement Plan Goals
Success in financial wellness and retirement depends on each person’s goals and ideas, so employers should provide tools to help them reach these goals or their idea of what retirement should be like, according to Jason Boultbee, Global Wealth and Investment Management, director of Institutional Client Relationship Management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He told attendees of the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) 2014 Annual Conference that within their financial wellness program, plan sponsors should minimize industry jargon, recognize financial wellness is unique to each person, and make wellness opportunities frequent and accessible. “Wellness is a journey, not a point-in-time event,” he said.Read more >
Using Trends to Improve Your Plan
Plan sponsors can use data about industry trends to make improvements to their retirement plans. For example, Michael Kozemchak, managing director at Institutional Investment Consulting (IIC), told attendees at the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) 2014 Annual Conference, lessons from well-known fee litigation are guiding plan sponsors regarding what to do about fees. One of Kozemchak’s clients, Karen Hollis, director of compensation and benefits at CGB Enterprises and Zen-Noh Grain Corporation, shared how the fee litigation trend and other trends help the firms improve their plans.Read more >
Health Care Not Biggest Cost for Baby Boomers
A new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) asks: “Does Household Expenditure Change With Age for Older Americans?” EBRI tracked the latest available data, through 2011, for its analysis and found that housing-related costs topped the list as the largest spending category for those between 50 and 64 years old. Maintaining their home is the biggest expense for these Americans and consistently takes up 40% to 45% of their household budget as they age, even as the actual dollar amount spent on their home decreases over time.Read more >
Industry Voices
Barry’s Pickings: Small-Plan Fiduciaries
Still on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulatory agenda is the redefinition of “fiduciary” for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). In this project, the DOL wants to “reduce harmful conflicts of interest by amending the regulatory definition of the term ‘fiduciary.’” Two major areas of focus are: 1) conflicts that persons who advise a sponsor on fund menu construction may have that may influence which funds get included in the menu, and 2) conflicts that persons who advise participants receiving distributions may have. I believe there is important work to be done on these issues, if the DOL can figure out how to define “conflict” in a way that doesn’t ban everyone in the financial services industry from providing services to plans. But pretty much everyone agrees that a significant piece of the problem the DOL is trying to solve—probably the most significant piece—exists in the small-plan market.Read more >
Economic Events
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.2% in August after rising 0.1% in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The index for all items less food and energy was unchanged in August after rising 0.1% in July. Real average hourly earnings rose 0.4% in August, seasonally adjusted. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% and the CPI-U fell 0.2%. Real average weekly earnings rose 0.4% over the month.
Market Mirror
Wednesday, the Dow ticked up 24.88 points (0.15%) to 17,156.85, the NASDAQ gained 9.43 points (0.21%) to finish at 4,562.19, and the S&P 500 increased 2.59 points (0.13%) to 2,001.57. The Russell 2000 was up 2.92 points (0.25%) at 1,153.89, and the Wilshire 5000 closed 31.95 points (0.15%) higher at 21,160.72. On the NYSE, 3.2 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for decliners. On the NASDAQ, 2.8 billion shares changed hands, with 1.3 advancing issues for every declining issue. The price of the 10-year Treasury note fell 8/32, increasing its yield to 2.622%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond decreased 6/32, bringing its yield up to 3.371%.
Rules & Regulators
Health System Settles Cash Balance Plan Suit
A Madison, Wisconsin-based hospital has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by cash balance plan participants rather than face a large class action suit. Under the settlement agreement, Meriter Health Services will pay $82 million to settle all claims in the lawsuit. Meriter had tried to have the class certification of the plaintiffs reversed, arguing that because so many subclasses make claims, the class action does not satisfy the requirement of Rule 23(b)(2) that the defendant have “acted … on grounds that apply generally to the class.” There are more than 4,000 participants in 10 subclasses in the lawsuit.Read more >
Small Talk
ON THIS DATE: In 1793, U.S. President George Washington laid the actual cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. In 1851, the first issue of “The New York Times” was published. In 1927, Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System made its debut with its network broadcast over 16 radio stations. The name was later changed to CBS. In 1947, the United States Air Force was established as a separate military branch by the National Security Act. In 2003, Robert Duvall received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
SURVEY SAYS: Information Security
There have been many news reports lately about hackers obtaining personal information from store systems or from the “Cloud.” So, this week, I asked NewsDash readers, what activities do you do online via your computer/laptop or mobile phone, and have you been the victim of a data breach? Nearly 93% of responding readers indicated they shop online or via their mobile phone, while 87.5% said they book travel this way, and 84% perform banking transactions this way. Nearly 79% pay bills online or via their mobile phone, 75% perform retirement account transactions, and nearly 70% post or send photos. Forty-eight percent check medical records or communicate with their doctors online or via mobile phones, and 23% admitted to using public WiFi hotspots for work. Nearly 45% of responding readers have been the victim of a data breach, 39% have not, and 16% are unsure if they have. Seventy-nine percent of respondents admitted they have their passwords for different site or applications written down somewhere, while 21% do not. Among those who entered verbatim comments, some shared how they were a victim of a breach, expressed concern about information security and data breaches, and offered ideas for keeping track of all the many passwords we are expected remember. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Can’t do anything without a user ID and password these days. To make them different or to consistently change them is arduous at best. Considering cash based consumerism all over again—but will I be able to give up the points?” Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey!Read more >
Share the good news with a friend! Pass the Dash along – and tell your friends/associates they can sign up for their own copy.Read more >
News from   Copyright © Asset International, Inc., 2014. All rights reserved.  No reproduction without prior authorization.
2023 Plan Sponsor of the Year
Plan Sponsor of the Year Finalist Profiles Published
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
Retirement Industry People Moves
How Employers Can Address the Nurse Retention Problem

Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


Subscribe to NEWSDash, click here .

To unsubscribe, click here.

BrightScope / CIO / FWW / Investor Economics / LiquidMetrix / Market Metrics / Matrix Solutions / PLANADVISER / Plan For Life / PLANSPONSOR / Simfund