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Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Sticky or Discerning Money?

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  • CLEMENS SIALM
  • LAURA T. STARKS
  • HANJIANG ZHANG

Abstract

type="main"> Participants in defined contribution (DC) retirement plans rarely adjust their portfolio allocations, suggesting that their investment choices and consequent money flows are sticky and not discerning. However, participants’ inertia could be offset by DC plan sponsors, who adjust the plan's investment options. We examine these countervailing influences on flows into U.S. mutual funds. We find that flows into funds from DC assets are more volatile and exhibit more performance sensitivity than non-DC flows, primarily due to adjustments to the investment options by the plan sponsors. Thus, DC retirement money is less sticky and more discerning than non-DC money.

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens Sialm & Laura T. Starks & Hanjiang Zhang, 2015. "Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Sticky or Discerning Money?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(2), pages 805-838, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:70:y:2015:i:2:p:805-838
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhi Da & Borja Larrain & Clemens Sialm & José Tessada, 2016. "Coordinated Noise Trading: Evidence from Pension Fund Reallocations," NBER Working Papers 22161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sorhage, Christoph, 2015. "Outsourcing of mutual funds' non-core competencies," CFR Working Papers 14-04 [rev.2], University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    3. Ferreira, Miguel & Massa, Massimo & Matos, Pedro Pinto, 2016. "Investor-Stock Decoupling in Mutual Funds," CEPR Discussion Papers 11476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Dahlquist, Magnus & Setty, Ofer & Vestman, Roine, 2016. "On the Asset Allocation of a Default Pension Fund," CEPR Discussion Papers 11052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Stephen G. Dimmock & William C. Gerken & Zoran Ivković & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2014. "Capital Gains Lock-In and Governance Choices," NBER Working Papers 20176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Chen, Hsuan-Chi & Lai, Christine W. & Wu, Sheng-Ching, 2016. "Mutual fund selection and performance persistence in 401(k) Plans," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 78-100.
    7. Mercedes Alda, 2016. "Manager Characteristics and Manager-Replacement: How Is Pension Fund Performance Affected?," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 66(2), pages 161-180, April.
    8. Mason, Andrew & Agyei-Ampomah, Sam & Skinner, Frank, 2016. "Realism, skill, and incentives: Current and future trends in investment management and investment performance," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 31-40.
    9. Clemens Sialm & Hanjiang Zhang, 2015. "Tax-Efficient Asset Management: Evidence from Equity Mutual Funds," NBER Working Papers 21060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Wu, Youchang & Wermers, Russ & Zechner, Josef, 2016. "Managerial rents vs. shareholder value in delegated portfolio management: The case of closed-end funds," CFS Working Paper Series 548, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    11. Chan, Chia-Ying & Chen, Hsuan-Chi & Chiang, Yu Hsuan & Lai, Christine W., 2017. "Fund selection in target date funds," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 197-209.
    12. Julia Le Blanc & Almuth Scholl, 2015. "Optimal Savings for Retirement: The Role of Individual Accounts," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2015-10, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    13. Jiang, George J. & Yuksel, H. Zafer, 2017. "What drives the “Smart-Money” effect? Evidence from investors’ money flow to mutual fund classes," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 39-58.
    14. repec:eee:finmar:v:36:y:2017:i:c:p:17-39 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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