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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Gray Lady Worries About Target Date Funds

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The public debate over target date funds has spread to the New York Times. The Times' Leslie Wayne follows up on the joint Department of Labor-SEC all-day hearing on target date funds last week. (Wayne also highlights a speech SEC chair Mary Schapiro gave last week at the New York Financial Writers' Association Annual Awards Dinner.)

For more on last Thursday's hearing, see coverage from our sister publication, The 401kWire.

The Times notes Schapiro's worry that "funds with the target date in their names can be structured, and thus perform, very differently," and indeed the article itself largely centers around the debate over those discrepancies in returns.

Representative Rob Andrews (D-New Jersey), Senate Aging Committee chair Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Pension Advisors president David Krasnow, Target Date Analytics principal Joe Nagengast and ICI chief Paul Schott Stevens, most of whom testified at the hearing last week, all gain ink in the article as experts.

On the fund firm side, the Times notes AllianceBernstein's and Fidelity's 2010 funds as ones with more equity exposure (and bigger 2008 losses); the paper also points to 2010 funds from Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo as more heavily bond-weighted (with lower 2008 losses). Yet, the paper makes no mention of how those different funds are performing so far in 2009. 

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