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Performance and Employer Stock in 401(k) Plans

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  • Gur Huberman
  • Paul Sengmueller

Abstract

Participants in 401(k) retirement plans violate the basic principle of diversification by investing significant fractions of their savings in their employers' equity. This paper characterizes investors' active changes to their company stock investment over time by analyzing new inflows and transfers. The average investor seems to base active changes on salient information, paying attention to past returns, volatility, and business performance. Past returns, over a three-year horizon, predict higher inflow allocations and transfers, whereas volatility and business performance only have a weak effect. The sensitivity to past returns is asymmetric, with investors reacting more strongly to positive and above-S&P500 returns. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gur Huberman & Paul Sengmueller, 2004. "Performance and Employer Stock in 401(k) Plans," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 403-443.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:eurfin:v:8:y:2004:i:3:p:403-443
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10679-004-2544-y
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pal:assmgt:v:18:y:2017:i:7:d:10.1057_s41260-017-0054-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Nellie Liang & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Individual Account Investment Options and Portfolio Choice: Behavioral Lessons from 401(k) Plans," NBER Chapters,in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1992-2013 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bergman, Nittai K. & Jenter, Dirk, 2007. "Employee sentiment and stock option compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 667-712, June.
    4. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "The Flypaper Effect in Individual Investor Asset Allocation," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2560, Yale School of Management.
    5. Tang, Ning & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Mottola, Gary R. & Utkus, Stephen P., 2010. "The efficiency of sponsor and participant portfolio choices in 401(k) plans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1073-1085, December.
    6. Kumar, Alok, 2007. "Do the diversification choices of individual investors influence stock returns?," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 362-390, November.
    7. Elton, Edwin J. & Gruber, Martin J. & Blake, Christopher R., 2006. "The adequacy of investment choices offered by 401(k) plans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1299-1314, August.
    8. Thomas Steinberger, 2005. "Pension benefit default risk and welfare effects of funding regulation," CSEF Working Papers 147, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    9. Sautner, Zacharias & Weber, Martin, 2005. "Subjective Stock Option Values and Exercise Decisions: Determinants and Consistency," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-31, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    10. Abreu, Margarida & Mendes, Victor & Santos, João A.C., 2011. "Home country bias: Does domestic experience help investors enter foreign markets?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2330-2340, September.
    11. Bahaji, Hamza & Casta, Jean-François, 2016. "Employee stock option-implied risk attitude under Rank-Dependent Expected Utility," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 144-154.
    12. repec:eee:finmar:v:36:y:2017:i:c:p:17-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Massa, Massimo & Simonov, Andrei & Stenkrona, Anders, 2015. "Style representation and portfolio choice," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 1-25.
    14. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2009. "Mental Accounting in Portfolio Choice: Evidence from a Flypaper Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2085-2095, December.
    15. John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Hai Huang, 2009. "Investor Competence, Trading Frequency, and Home Bias," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1094-1106, July.
    16. Elton, Edwin J. & Gruber, Martin J. & Blake, Christopher R., 2007. "Participant reaction and the performance of funds offered by 401(k) plans," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 249-271, April.
    17. 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.
    18. Djaoudath Alidou, 2011. "Les augmentations de capital réservées aux salariés en France - Employee Equity Issue:Evidence from France," Working Papers CREGO 1110603, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    19. Ning Tang & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "The Efficiency of Pension Plan Investment Menus: Investment Choices in Defined Contribution Pension Plans," Working Papers wp176, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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