The Daily Brief
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A Mix of Active and Passive

It's a two-way street.

The penchant for passive over active investment management hasn’t been as pronounced among defined contribution plan sponsors; 57 percent of multi-national companies have a mix of active and passive strategies in their default funds, according to Vanguard’s Global Retirement Plan Survey. Thirty-eight percent use all-passive default funds, while 5 percent favor all active funds. “We were a bit surprised, frankly, that passive-only default funds did not emerge as more of a preference, as our experience suggests that more sponsors are recognizing the advantages that come with passive strategies, including lower costs and the elimination of manager risk from the outcome,” said Steve Utkus, head of Vanguard’s Center for Retirement Research. 

SEC's Revolving Door Continues to Swing…

No replacement for Andrew Bowden has been named.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s head of examinations is stepping down, the agency announced Tuesday. Andrew Bowden, who has served as director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) since June, is leaving at the end of April to return to the private sector. Bowden recently came under fire for comments he made at a March 5 conference for private equity firms, calling the PE industry “the greatest business you could possibly be in,” adding he’s encouraged his son to join it. The positive comments seemed to be a dramatic shift from Bowden's stance a year earlier when he expressed concerns about private equity’s business practices. The SEC did not disclose where Bowden was heading and did not immediately name a successor.

A New Majority

Success comes at a price. | shironosov/iStock/Thinkstock

Women now hold more management positions in corporate America, according to a new report released by BMO Bank. Citing data from Catalyst, a non-profit organization, the study notes that while women now make up 52 percent of those positions, there is still a stark contrast in pay. Less than 5 percent of women occupy CEO roles at S&P 500 companies, according to statistics, and women still only make 78 percent of what men earn on average. “It seems that financial and career success comes at a price for women and there is still more work to be done to truly level the playing field,” says the report.

Collegiate Concern

Stay in school, kids. | Copyright Kayana Szymczak, Getty Images

A survey of 42,000 college students, 91 percent of them freshmen, has found that external economic factors are currently of biggest concern to them. A total of 69 percent of respondents to the study, conducted by EverFi, are worried about finding a good job after graduation. The cost of rising tuition charges worried about 55 percent of respondents. The three-year study also indicated that the percentage of freshmen willing to take steps toward paying down credit card bills and/or setting a budget has declined. “It is more important than ever that college students are equipped with the knowledge, perspectives, skills and habits to successfully navigate the fiscal burdens that stand in the way of their financial independence,” according to the report.

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