It Pays to Set the Menu: Mutual Fund Investment Options in 401(K) Plans
Veronika Krepely Pool
Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C.
August 27, 2014
This paper investigates whether mutual fund families acting as service providers in 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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 70
Keywords: 401(k), pension plans, trustee, favoritism, mutual funds
JEL Classification: G23, J23
Date posted: July 19, 2012 ; Last revised: September 4, 2014
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