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Stable Value Funds Performance

Author

Listed:
  • David F. Babbel

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6302, USA)

  • Miguel A. Herce

    () (Principal of Charles River Associates in Boston, Boston, MA 02116-5092, USA)

Abstract

Little in the scholarly economics literature is directed specifically to the performance of stable value funds, although they occupy a leading place among retirement investment vehicles. They are currently offered in more than one-third of all defined contribution plans in the USA, with more than $800 billion of assets under management. This paper rigorously examines their performance throughout the entire period since their inception in 1973. We produce a composite index of stable value returns. We next conduct mean-variance analysis, Sharpe and Sortino ratio analysis, stochastic dominance analysis, and optimal multi-period portfolio composition analysis. Our evidence suggests that stable value funds dominate (on average) two major asset classes based on a historical analysis, and that they often occupy a significant position in optimized portfolios across a broad range of risk aversion levels. We discuss factors that contributed to stable value funds’ past performance and whether they can continue to perform well into the future. We also discuss considerations regarding whether or not to include stable value as an element in target date funds within defined contribution pension plans.

Suggested Citation

  • David F. Babbel & Miguel A. Herce, 2018. "Stable Value Funds Performance," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-40, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jrisks:v:6:y:2018:i:1:p:12-:d:132609
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Babbel, David F. & Herce, Miguel A., 2011. "Stable Value Funds: Performance to Date," Working Papers 11-01, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    stable value; defined contribution; optimal asset allocation; stochastic dominance;

    JEL classification:

    • C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods
    • G0 - Financial Economics - - General
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics
    • M4 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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