Newsdash Insight on Plan Design & Investment Strategy from PLANSPONSOR
September 23rd, 2016
Benefits & Administration
Fixed-Fee Recordkeeping Arrangements Now the Majority
The 11th Annual NEPC Defined Contribution Plan and Fee Survey finds the asset-weighted average expense ratio for defined contribution (DC) retirement plans is currently 0.42% versus the 2006 level of 0.57% when NEPC first conducted its study. Eighty-two percent of plans have re-contracted their recordkeeping fees since 2013, which has led 51% of plans with to have a fixed-fee recordkeeping arrangement, based on the findings. Read more >
Products, Deals and People
Elkhorn Investments has launched the Elkhorn Fundamental Commodity Strategy exchange-traded fund (ETF), which it describes as the first ETF based on Research Affiliates’ fundamental research. “We believe commodities can be a powerful inflation hedge and diversifier,” Rob Arnott, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Research Affiliates says.  Read more >
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What do the M’s stand for in M&Ms?
2022 Recordkeeping Survey
Maximum Benefit and Contribution Limits Table 2023
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: How Many States Are in More Than One Time Zone?
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Meaning and Origin of the Idiom “Watershed Moment?”
White Paper Offers Fiduciary Guidance on TDFs
Beaumont Capital Management (BCM) has released a new white paper which digs into the specific details of the Department of Labor (DOL’s) rules outlining fiduciary responsibility in regard to the management of target-date funds (TDFs). When it comes to TDFs, one size no longer fits all, and plan sponsors can no longer “set it and forget it,” especially in light of the DOL’s compliance standards, the firm says. Read more >
Economic Events

In the week ending September 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 252,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 260,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 258,500, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 260,750.

Existing-home sales eased up in August for the second consecutive month despite mortgage rates near record lows as higher home prices and not enough inventory for sale kept some would-be buyers at bay, according to the National Association of Realtors. Only the Northeast region saw a monthly increase in closings in August, where inventory is currently more adequate. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in August from a downwardly revised 5.38 million in July. After last month’s decline, sales are at their second-lowest pace of 2016, but are still slightly higher (0.8%) than a year ago (5.29 million).

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.48%, down from 3.50% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.76%, down from 2.77%. 

Market Mirror

Yesterday, the Dow gained 98.76 points (0.54%) to finish at 18,392.46, the NASDAQ closed 44.34 points (0.84%) higher at 5,339.52, and the S&P 500 was up 14.06 points (0.65%) at 2,177.18. The Russell 2000 increased 18.40 points (1.48%) to 1,263.43, and the Wilshire 5000 climbed 174.50 points (0.78%) to 22,679.75.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, with advancing issues outnumbering declining issues more than 4 to 1. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares changed hands, with a more than 2 to 1 lead for advancers.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note increased 10/32, bringing its yield down to 1.620%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond climbed 26/32, decreasing its yield to 2.338%.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded a total of $153,836 in grants to organizations to support the planning and research of portable retirement benefit plans for low-wage workers. Read more >
PBGC Reduces Penalties for Late Premium Payments
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is reducing penalties for late payment of premiums in an effort to reduce regulatory costs and make it easier for plan sponsors to maintain traditional pension plans. The agency has issued a final rule implementing changes proposed in April.Read more >
Trading in defined contribution (DC) plans in August was among the lowest on record, according to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index. However, when trading did occur, DC participants favored fixed income.Read more >
Interest Rate Climate Calls for Different Investment Approaches
Despite years of record-low interest rates and cautiously optimistic signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve, Sean Rhoderick, chief investment officer of taxable fixed-income products for PNC Capital Advisors, says there’s little reason to suspect interest rates will normalize soon. There are limits on what can be accomplished with a traditional approach to fixed-income investing for the foreseeable future, he says. Read more >
August Trading Shows Expected Results of Money Market Fund Reform
Net new flows to long-term mutual funds and exchange-traded products (ETPs) totaled $28.2 billion in August, according to Strategic Insight, parent company of PLANSPONSOR. Net deposits into Money Market funds in August totaled $14.2 billion. The bifurcation in demand within this space continued, driven by the soon-to-be-enacted regulation. Read more >
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1642, the first commencement at Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was held. In 1779, John Paul Jones, commander of the American warship Bon Homme, was quoted as saying “I have not yet begun to fight!” In 1780, John Andre, a British spy, was captured with papers revealing that Benedict Arnold was going to surrender West Point, New York, to the British. In 1806, the Corps of Discovery, the Lewis and Clark expedition, reached St. Louis, and ended the trip to the Pacific Northwest. In 1845, the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was formed by Alexander Joy Cartwright. It was the first baseball team in America. In 1846, astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune. In 1951, the first transcontinental telecast was received on the west coast. The show “Crusade for Freedom” was broadcast by CBS-TV from New York. In 1962, New York’s Philharmonic Hall opened. It was the first unit of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The hall was later renamed the Avery Fisher Hall. In 1962, “The Jetsons” premiered on ABC-TV. It was the first program on the network to be carried in color. In 1998, Jamie Lee Curtis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1999, Siegfried & Roy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

The moon is falling! The moon is falling!  Read more >
Ever been so intently focused on something, that a small interruption scares you?Read more >
This dog fails at hide-and-seek.  Read more >

In Brookline, New Hampshire, a bride was on the way to her wedding when the limo had a flat tire. So, she headed out on foot, sticking out her thumb to hitchhike to the wedding. She was able to flag down a passing motorist who gladly helped get her to the altar—albeit 30 minutes late, according to the Associated Press. The bride said the rest of her wedding was “amazing.”

In Queensland, Australia, a teenager was reported missing. Police turned to Facebook to get help finding her. Not long after her photo and information were posted, she commented: “Guys I’m fine I’m not missing this is an overreaction to a fight I had with my sister, I’m legit just sitting in my bedroom.” Police asked her to call the station or come down to verify that she is fine and not missing so the search can officially end, which she did.

In Barnstable, Massachusetts, police received a report of a car crash. However, the woman told the police officer, she was “driving back from Barnstaple to Muddiford” when she saw the crash. According to the Boston Globe, the confused police officer asked the caller where she was located, to which she replied, “Ilfracombe.” That’s when the police officer realized he and the caller were on two different continents. Ilfracombe is on the northern coast of England, about 13 miles north of Barnstaple. The BBC says the woman misdialed after searching online for the police department’s number.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a suspect dropped his cell phone while running from police. When he found a hiding place, he took to Facebook and posted a message telling friends he’d be off Facebook for a while and asking them not to call his phone until he said otherwise. According to the Associated Press, police found the suspect in a friend’s basement, with a computer that had a tab open to Facebook.

In Kingston, Ontario, Canada, a witness saw a man driving a pickup truck backwards and hitting a parked car. The Whig Standard reports that the witness then saw the man exit the truck and stumble up the street. Police found the man standing on the street, and when they asked for his identification, he pulled out a Costco membership card. He also showed police his firearms license before finally finding the proper identification. The police say he was over two times the legal alcohol limit.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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Editorial: Alison Cooke Mintzer


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