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Heterogeneity in Target-Date Funds: Optimal Risk-Taking or Risk Matching?

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  • Pierluigi Balduzzi
  • Jonathan Reuter

Abstract

Following the Pension Protection Act of 2006, there was a sharp increase in the use of TDFs as default investment options in defined contribution retirement plans. We document large differences in realized TDF returns and risk profiles, even for funds with the same target retirement date. Using fund-level data, we find evidence that this heterogeneity reflects optimal risk-taking by fund families with low market share, especially those entering the market after 2006. Using plan-level data, we find little evidence that 401(k) plan sponsors match the risk profile of the TDFs in their plans to the risks of their companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierluigi Balduzzi & Jonathan Reuter, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Target-Date Funds: Optimal Risk-Taking or Risk Matching?," NBER Working Papers 17886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17886
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francisco J. Gomes & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Luis M. Viceira, 2008. "Optimal Life-Cycle Investing with Flexible Labor Supply: A Welfare Analysis of Life-Cycle Funds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 297-303, May.
    2. Diane Del Guercio & Jonathan Reuter, 2014. "Mutual Fund Performance and the Incentive to Generate Alpha," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(4), pages 1673-1704, August.
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    4. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
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    6. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    7. Richard B. Evans, 2010. "Mutual Fund Incubation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(4), pages 1581-1611, August.
    8. Joseph Chen & Harrison Hong & Ming Huang & Jeffrey D. Kubik, 2004. "Does Fund Size Erode Mutual Fund Performance? The Role of Liquidity and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1276-1302, December.
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    11. Joao F. Cocco, 2005. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(2), pages 491-533.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Chalmers & Jonathan Reuter, 2012. "Is Conflicted Investment Advice Better than No Advice?," NBER Working Papers 18158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • 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

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