Institutional Affiliation: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
|Out of Sight No More? The Effect of Fee Disclosures on 401(k) Investment Allocations|
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We examine the effects of a 2012 regulatory reform that mandated fee and performance disclosures for the investment options in 401(k) plans. We show that participants became significantly more attentive to expense ratios and short-term performance after the reform. The disclosure effects are stronger among plans with large average contributions per participant and weaker for plans with many investment options. Additionally, these results are not driven by secular changes in investor behavior or sponsor-initiated changes to the investment menus. Our findings suggest that providing salient fee and performance information can mitigate participants' inertia in retirement plans.
|Cost Saving and the Freezing of Corporate Pension Plans|
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Companies that freeze defined benefit pension plans save the equivalent of 13.5 percent of the long-horizon payroll of current employees. Furthermore, firms with higher prospective accruals are more likely to freeze their plans. Cost savings would not be possible in a benchmark model in which i) all workers receive compensation equal to their marginal product and ii) workers value equally all identical-cost forms of pension benefits. We find evidence consistent both with firms’ reneging on implicit contracts to provide workers with high pension accruals later in their careers and with shifts in employee valuation of different forms of retirement benefits.
Published: Joshua D. Rauh & Irina Stefanescu & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2020. "Cost saving and the freezing of corporate pension plans," Journal of Public Economics, vol 188.
|It Pays to Set the Menu: Mutual Fund Investment Options in 401(k) Plans|
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This paper investigates whether mutual fund families acting as trustees of 401(k) plans display favoritism toward their own funds. Using a hand-collected dataset on retirement investment options, we show that poorly-performing funds are less likely to be removed from and more likely to be added to a 401(k) menu if they are affiliated with the plan trustee. We find no evidence that plan participants undo this affiliation bias through their investment choices. Finally, the subsequent performance of poorly-performing affiliated funds indicates that these trustee decisions are not information driven and are costly to retirement savers.
Published: Veronika K. Pool & Clemens Sialm & Irina Stefanescu, 2016. "It Pays to Set the Menu: Mutual Fund Investment Options in 401(k) Plans," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(4), pages 1779-1812, 08. citation courtesy of