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March 17, 2017
Good Day!
Leadership Buy-In Important for Wellness Program Success
Prudential Aims to Gauge Retirement Plan ROI
Lawsuits May Help Define How ERISA Polices Fees and Prudence
Structuring a Plan Committee
CITs a Driving Force in DC Space
Benefits & Administration
Leadership Buy-In Important for Wellness Program Success:
“A culture of health requires buy-in from all levels of an organization, which starts with leadership at a senior level. Commitment to the health of employees permeates through the organization and is exemplified by participating in programs, ensuring that managers at all levels are supportive, and leading by example,” a report says.  Read more »
Products, Deals and People
Retirement consulting services provider Lockton Companies has adopted PFaroe, a Web-based platform that will aim to help the firm’s Retirement Services division analyze clients’ pension plans and optimize assets and liabilities to strategically manage plan risk.  Read more »
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401k Nondiscrimination Tests Explained
Prudential Aims to Gauge Retirement Plan ROI:
Every year, plan sponsors pump millions of dollars into retirement plans in an effort to help participants retire comfortably when they want to. Gauging the return on investment (ROI) of these plans and determining whether the plan design is meeting desired results can be difficult. Prudential Retirement is attempting to facilitate both objectives with a new solution called PruNOW. The tool gathers millions of data points to determine participant actions and identify plan-design flaws, while offering solutions.  Read more »
Economic Events

In the week ending March 11, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 241,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 243,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 237,250, an increase of 750 from the previous week's unrevised average of 236,500.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.30%, up from 4.21% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.50%, up from 3.42%.

Privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,288,000, the Census Bureau announced. This is 3.0% above the revised January estimate of 1,251,000 and is 6.2% above the February 2016 rate of 1,213,000. Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 872,000; this is 6.5% above the revised January figure of 819,000. The February rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 396,000. 

Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow decreased 15.55 points (0.07%) to 20,934.55, the NASDAQ was virtually unchanged at 5,900.76, and the S&P 500 slipped 3.88 points (0.16%) to 2,381.38. The Russell 2000 was up 3.20 points (0.23%) at 1,386.02, and the Wilshire 5000 was down 12.50 points (0.05%) at 24,778.39.

On the NYSE, 3.1 billion shares traded, with a slight lead for advancers. On the NASDAQ, 2.9 billion shares changed hands, with 3 advancing issues for every 2 declining issues.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note decreased 12/32, bringing its yield up to 2.537%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond fell 23/32, increasing its yield to 3.146%. 

Compliance
Lawsuits May Help Define How ERISA Polices Fees and Prudence:
Many of the recent legal challenges may appear similar on their face, but the underlying allegations can vary significantly in terms of how they actually apply and test Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) standards.  Read more »
From the Magazine
Structuring a Plan Committee:
There are no specific legal requirements regarding the number of members or who should or should not sit on a retirement plan committee. However, there are common practices plan sponsors might keep in mind that can serve as guidelines for establishing this body.  Read more »
Investing
Long-term mutual funds and exchange-traded products (ETPs) experienced net deposits of $79.4 billion in February, an increase from the $58 billion in net new flows seen in January, according to Strategic Insight, parent company of PLANSPONSOR. Among Taxable Money Market funds, prime funds led inflows at $9.9 billion, while treasury and government funds saw outflows of $4.5 billion and $7 billion, respectively. Bifurcation in demand within this space had previously favored government funds, driven by money market fund regulation.  Read more »
CITs a Driving Force in DC Space:
Collective Investment Trusts (CIT) could become the dominating investment vehicles in the defined contribution (DC) market, according to a new white paper by ALPS, a subsidiary of DST Systems, in collaboration with DST kasina. Like mutual funds, CIT are comingled investment vehicles. However, they are exclusively sponsored by banks or trust companies for qualified retirement plans. They also operate under varying fee and compliance structures that may provide an edge for plan sponsors.  Read more »
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 461 A.D., Bishop Patrick, St. Patrick, died in Saul. Ireland celebrates this day in his honor. In 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act that had caused resentment in the North American colonies. In 1870, Wellesley College was incorporated by the Massachusetts legislature under its first name, Wellesley Female Seminary. In 1930, in New York, construction began on the Empire State Building. In 1941, the National Gallery of Art was officially opened by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, D.C. In 1942, Douglas MacArthur became the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in the Southwestern Pacific. In 1970, the U.S. Army charged 14 officers with suppression of facts in the My Lai massacre case. In 1972, U.S. President Nixon asked Congress to halt busing in order to achieve desegregation. In 1973, the first American prisoners of war (POWs) were released from the "Hanoi Hilton" in Hanoi, North Vietnam. In 1992, white South Africans approved constitutional reforms to give legal equality to blacks. In 2004, NASA's Messenger became the first spacecraft to enter into orbit around Mercury. The probe took more than 270,000 pictures before it crashed into the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015. In 2007, Mike Modano (Dallas Stars) scored his 502nd and 503rd career goals making him the all-time U.S. leader in goal-scoring.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!

Tiny dog struggles after picking out the biggest toy in the store.  Read more »
Who needs skis? Not this rescue dog.  Read more »
I bet the family conversation turned ugly after a man’s interview was interrupted by his toddlers.  Read more »

In Breckenridge, Colorado, a woman was snowboarding when she was approached by something unexpected. She saw a moose within feet of her and screamed as the moose suddenly ran by her. According to the Associated Press, resort officials say no one was hurt, and the encounter is a good reminder that skiers and snowboarders share the mountain with wildlife.

 

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a woman was resigned to being a plump old lady. Over 15 years she kept getting bigger despite dieting. But with her health deteriorating, her son persuaded her to go to the hospital. According to the Associated Press, what doctors found astounded them—a cyst in one of her ovaries had grown into a 140-pound tumor. Doctors at Lehigh Valley Health Network removed the cancerous, Stage 1 mass in a five-hour operation.

 

In Avon Lake, Ohio, librarians at the public library are confused about the odd items found around the building. Since January, employees have found 30 10-ounce containers of A.1. steak sauce hidden on shelves, among newspapers and magazines. All were clean with “just a hint of the sauce odor inside,” the library revealed in a Facebook post. Jill Ralston, the library’s public relations coordinator, doubts any bad-natured intent on the part of the anonymous prankster, the Huffington Post reports.

 

In Trenton, New Jersey, a federal judge has dismissed an unusual discrimination lawsuit. A woman said her husband, struggled with extreme gas and uncomfortable diar.rhea due to gastric bypass surgery. Her suit claimed the company’s president complained about the side effects and told her husband to work from home due to the smell of his gas. She also worked at the firm. According to the Associated Press, the wife’s initial claim was dismissed last summer. Her amended lawsuit said managers made "insulting and humiliating" comments that caused her mental and physical anguish. But, the court found she failed to prove the managers created an abusive work environment.

 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  

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EDITORIAL

Alison Cooke Mintzer | Editor-in-Chief | alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

Rebecca Moore | NewsDash Editor | rebecca.moore@strategic-i.com

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