Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Markets React to Coronavirus

We have the following observations about the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on markets. First identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.

Though this coronavirus presents unique challenges, New York’s hospitals and health systems have extensive experience successfully managing outbreaks. In the past 20 years, they have been leaders in tackling the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2009 influenza pandemic (“swine flu”), the 2014 Ebola outbreak and others.

The vast majority of cases have been in mainland China. However, with more confirmed cases being reported across the globe this week, concerns have become more widespread, particularly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned about the potential impact in the United States.

As this coronavirus outbreak has spread to six of the world’s seven continents, fear has overtaken the markets, causing extreme selling pressure across equities and commodities. The flight to safety has investors buying bonds, lifting the prices higher and the yields to record lows.

While the spread of this serious global health threat is frightening and the impact on families and communities are on the top of our minds, we encourage clients to maintain an even hand and steady course. Diversification is a key tool in combatting volatility. Diversification, along with consistent rebalancing, can help investors weather periods of heightened volatility.

We have seen several cases of widespread health scares over the years and observed that the initial market reaction has sometimes been severe and widespread, but the disruptions have proven to be brief and high-quality fixed income has provided some stability to portfolio structures.

Want to learn more about COVID-19? We encourage you to follow information provided by these trusted sources:
We will continue to monitor developments closely and report back as appropriate. In the meantime, if you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

FMLA Administration Outsourcing

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for a variety of personal circumstances. Due to the numerous regulations and complexities of the FMLA, administering FMLA leave can be a daunting task for many HR departments. In an effort to make FMLA administration more accurate and efficient, many employers have opted to outsource their leave programs to outside vendors.

Why Do Companies Outsource FMLA Administration? 

Many small companies struggle to find the time and resources required to properly train staff on FMLA administration, and employers who deny eligible employees leave or violate FMLA requirements could face hefty fines and legal repercussions.

As a result, HR representatives will sometimes grant too much leave to employees out of fear that an eligible employee’s leave request might accidentally be denied. While this practice might spare companies from finding themselves in serious legal trouble, it can also lead to staffing issues and decreased productivity.

How Does FMLA Outsourcing Work? 

When leave programs are outsourced, the process of handling all of a company’s FMLA-related workload is transferred to an outside FMLA administration vendor. FMLA administration vendors stay current on evolving regulations and changes to the federal law as well as individual state laws which may affect an employee’s eligibility and leave rights. This greatly increases the likelihood that leave will be administered properly and in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations. In addition, lifting the responsibility off of in-house HR departments can significantly reduce workloads, giving staff more time to devote to other necessary projects and tasks.

What Are the Disadvantages? 

While FMLA outsourcing can make FMLA administration more accurate and efficient, there are a few drawbacks to consider. HR departments may need an initial adjustment period while they reshuffle their workload and delegate new tasks.

Employees might be displeased with needing to contact an outside resource rather than their company’s HR department to make leave requests. In addition, decisions regarding leave requests may not happen as quickly as they do when employees are able to speak directly to an HR representative, even if the vendor is complying with FMLA deadlines. Any additional delay can cause frustration as employees attempt to plan for their personal circumstances.

Is FMLA Outsourcing Right for Your Company? 

It is important to consider several factors in order to determine which FMLA administration option is best for your organization. Examine how efficiently your company’s HR department currently handles FMLA administration. Brought to you by the insurance professionals at HANYS Benefit Services

Are they able to keep track of FMLA regulations and stay up to date on changes to FMLA requirements? Are leave requests being over-granted due to a lack of understanding of FMLA regulations and employee eligibility requirements?

In addition, assess your HR department’s current workload to determine whether FMLA administration is making it difficult to delegate or complete other tasks.

For more information on whether FMLA administration outsourcing is right for your company or to talk to an employee benefits consultant, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Q4 Market Recap: Roaring into the 20s

U.S. equities continued to roar leading into 2020. The Federal Reserve reversed course on monetary policy in 2019, stimulating both the economy and securities markets.

Read the Q4 Market Recap for a brief review of the 2019 stock market performance and outlook for 2020. Also included is an update on important provisions in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act.

If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fiduciary safe harbor for selection of lifetime income provider

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act provides a safe harbor for plan fiduciaries who select a guaranteed retirement income contract, which is defined as an annuity contract for a fixed term or providing for systematic payments guaranteed by the provider to be made over the life, life expectancy or joint lives or life expectancies of a participant and beneficiary.

Retirement plan fiduciaries will be deemed to have acted prudently and will be eligible for the new safe harbor protection if they engage in and document the following process:
  • objective, thorough and analytical search for an annuity provider;
  • consideration of all costs, benefit features and terms of the contract;
  • obtain written assurances from the provider of compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations governing lifetime income solutions, including state insurance laws;
  • as a result of the analysis, the plan fiduciaries should be able to conclude that the provider has the financial strength to fulfill all its obligations under the contract; and
  • the cost of the contract is reasonable (the SECURE Act does not require that fiduciaries select the lowest cost provider).
Annuities may not be appropriate for all plans, but interested plan fiduciaries now have a safe harbor if they wish to consider including them.

If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Don't Get Caught in the Act:

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act

After spending most of 2019 on hold in Congress, the SECURE Act was passed and signed into law on December 20. This is the largest retirement reform act since the Pension Protection Act in 2006 and has a broad focus on improving both the reach and quality of retirement plans, as well as updating several individual tax rules.

While most changes require no immediate action, it’s important for plan sponsors to be aware of changes that may soon impact them. Here is a chart with the most significant changes:

<< Blog Home

Subscribe to blog via email
Subscribe to rss feed

Financial
Wellness Report


Free Download