Retail Financial Innovation and Stock Market Dynamics: The Case of Target Date Funds
61 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020 Last revised: 10 Aug 2022
Date Written: October 2020
Target Date Funds (TDFs) are designed to provide unsophisticated or inattentive investors with age-appropriate exposures to different asset classes like stocks and bonds. The rise of TDFs has moved a significant share of retirement investors into macro-contrarian strategies that sell stocks after relatively good stock market performance. This rebalancing drives contrarian flows across equity mutual funds held by TDFs, stabilizing their funding, and reduces stock returns for stocks disproportionately held by these funds when stock market returns are relatively high. Continued growth in TDFs and similar investment products may dampen stock market volatility and increase the transmission of shocks across asset classes.
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