It Pays to Set the Menu: Mutual Fund Investment Options in 401(K) Plans
Veronika Krepely Pool
Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Finance
University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Business; Stanford University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C.
January 20, 2013
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: 401(k), pension plans, trustee, favoritism, mutual funds
JEL Classification: G23, J23working papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2012 ; Last revised: January 23, 2013
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