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Two interesting studies on improving DC investor outcomes were published last week: a Pension Research Council working paper and a commissioned study prepared for John Hancock Life Insurance Company by Burgess Management & Research.
A recent Hewitt EnnisKnupp (HEK) blog post, “A Primer on Custom Target Date Funds,” provides an excellent short overview on custom target date funds (CTDFs). The post focuses on defining what a CTDF is, why plan sponsors change from traditional TDFs to custom TDFs, CTDF drawbacks and the myths that need to be addressed with plan sponsors.
A shift in influence from the fund manufacturer/record keeper to the fee-based independent advisor will put the advisor in the position to tie together the core fund line-up and the best asset allocation program using custom asset allocation models. (Spring 2014)
Grantham, Mayo and Otterloo & Co. (GMO) has released a white paper, “Investing for Retirement: The Defined Contribution Challenge.” Let’s take a closer look at what the authors have to say.
A recent research paper by RidgeWorth Investing, “Large Cap Value Indexing Myth-Conceptions”, seeks to demonstrate that large cap value managers can add value over the Russell 1000® Value Index.
Just as Michael Lewis’ newly published book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt is shedding light on the practice of high-frequency trading (HFT), a new threat to market transparency is beginning to rear its ugly head: dark pool trading.
At the 2014 NAPA 401(k) Summit last week, there was an interesting point/counterpoint discussion between NAPA Executive Director/CEO Brian Graff and Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School for Social Research.
A recent Investment News article promotes the idea that, “for advisers, the addition of private equity opens new doors and poses new challenges.”
In terms of types of money management, it seems that the names are increasingly being narrowed down to three types: beta, smart beta and active. The evolution of the distinction between beta and active began to occur in 1960s; the type of portfolio management that today is called “smart beta” has been around since the early 1980s.
Due to the policy of central banks to keep interest rates below inflation, the level of interest savers receive on their deposits cannot keep up with the rising cost of living. In effect, this erosion of buying power is a socialization of the debt, the cost of which is mainly borne by savers.
The word “great” is often used to describe a big shift in the markets: the Great Deflation (1870-1898), the Great Depression (1929-1942), the Great Recession (2007-2009). Now a new term has emerged: the “Great Rotation.”
In an interesting article about fiduciary risks, Fiduciary News’ Chris Carosa promotes the idea that an excessive weighting of bonds in 401(k) plans could increase fiduciary liability.
In a rather provocative article, Stacy Schaus, PIMCO’s DC chief, sounds the alarm about plan sponsors who “engage in a myopic search for the lowest fees possible for their DC plan.”
The title of a recent post by Schneider Downs, “New Trend in 401(k) Plans May Be a Headache for Fiduciaries” is a good description of what plan sponsors face as it relates to target-date funds.
Two recent studies challenge the most fundamental assumption undergirding the construction of virtually all target-date glide paths: that the best strategy is to wind down equity exposure as a DC investor nears retirement.
A recent Russell Investments paper, “Guidelines for Investing In Stable Value Post-2008,” provides a comprehensive overview and an excellent picture of what the stable value landscape looks like after the financial crisis.
The distribution of possible events looks like a bell curve, with many everyday events in the middle and far fewer events in the tails. While these tail events occur infrequently, they can have a great impact on the overall financial system — both negative or positive.
In spite of the attraction of pursuing tactical asset allocation (in lieu of a strategic approach to portfolio construction and maintenance), plan advisors should weigh the risks before adopting this type of investment strategy.
A recent Wall Street Journal article addressed revenue sharing, dealing mostly with the important issue of the “uneven” impact that revenue sharing can have on DC investors’ fund expenses. There is, however, another side that needs to be explored as well.
Where is it written in stone that because an index is price-weighted and based on a commercial index (e.g., the S&P 500), one is “smart” and the other is, well, “dumb”? Are smart beta investment managers simply using different criteria (i.e., rules) for creating an index?
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