U.S. Labor Department and SEC issue guidance on target date funds

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Securities and Exchange Commission, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced guidance to help investors and plan participants better understand the operations and risks of target date fund investments.

Target date funds, also known as life cycle funds, are designed to provide a convenient way to invest for retirement by automatically changing their mix of investments in a way that is intended to become more conservative as the fund’s target date approaches. There can be significant differences among target date funds in how they invest and how they reallocate assets between equity and fixed income investments up to and after the target date of the fund. The guidance will assist investors and participants in assessing the benefits and risks associated with target date funds and the appropriateness of including such an investment as part of their retirement portfolios.

The guidance describes some basics features of target date funds, including the investment mix of such funds, the risks associated with the investments, how target date funds operate, and ways to evaluate a target date retirement fund that will help increase awareness of both the value and risks associated with these types of investments.

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