US - The US Department of Labor (DOL) has announced plans to make extra information available to sponsors charged with evaluating and selecting target date retirement funds for their employees.
The Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), together with the US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will publish a compliance assistance checklist that will offer employers guidance in their investment choices.
EBSA will also make more information available to fund participants about the risks and benefits of investing in target date funds.
The move comes after an investigation by the Senate's Ageing Committee into the design and transparency of these funds, following heavy losses suffered in 2008 as the financial crisis ripped through stock markets worldwide.
The news was applauded by democratic senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
He said: "These new regulations are a great first step in helping employers make vital decisions about how their employee's 401(k) savings should be invested."
Since the US Government designated target date funds as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) in 401(k) plans, they have experienced a surge in popularity.
The schemes made up roughly 3% of defined contribution savings in 2006, but are expected to increase to 20% in 2010, according to the data from the Committee on Aging.
By 2015, it is expected that more than one-third of all defined contribution savings will be in target date funds.
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