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Monday, December 08, 2014

401k, the Disruptor

News summary by MFWire's editors

The 401(k), created thanks to a tax code revision signed by Jimmy Carter almost 37 years ago, is the 27th most disruptive idea of the past 85 years.

So says Bloomberg's BusinessWeek in a new list that, in celebration of the magazine's 85th anniversary, ranks the 85 most disruptive ideas during the magazine's history.

How does the 401(k) compare to other financial ideas? Junk bonds came in at number 7 on the list. Venture capital ranked 13th, the fixed-rate mortgage 17th, credit (well, really credit cards) 19th, shareholder value 30th, securitization 55th, the Black-Scholes formula 60th, high frequency trading 80th, and GDP 80th. Shadow banking, for which BusinessWeek points to the launch of the first money market mutual fund, since-fallen Reserve Fund, in 1970, came in at 37. And the giant government defined benefit plan of Social Security ranked 28th, just behind the 401(k).

Yet the mutual fund (and the Investment Company Act of 1940 that codified modern mutual funds) makes no appearance on the list. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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