Survey Reveals Plan Sponsors May Have a False Sense of Security with Target-Date Funds

Company Release - 11/15/2011 8:00 AM ET

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A just-releasedsurvey by Janus Capital Group Inc. (NYSE: JNS) found that defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors are professing a higher level of confidence in their target-date fund knowledge and offerings compared to a year ago. In contrast to that sentiment, however, the data also revealed contradictory responses and the existence of a significant percentage of sponsors seemingly unaware or unconcerned about areas that could present real fiduciary risk.

Key findings include:

  • Half of all sponsors are “not at all concerned” about litigation regarding target-date glide paths, yet more than 50% admitted they were not sure what their fund’s glide path is.
  • Despite the high level of glide path uncertainty, almost 70% of sponsors said they are confident that their employees understand the structure and intent of target-date funds.
  • Nearly 80% of all plans are either not, or not sure if they are, monitoring the duration of their target-date funds’ fixed income allocation.
  • 68% of all plans now have a target-date fund, yet only 45% said that a target-date fund is the best qualified default investment alternatives (QDIA) option for their employee population.
  • Nearly 40% of plans that have both target-date funds and an investment policy statement (IPS) do not include language in the IPS pertaining to target-date funds and their underlying funds.

“The evolution of target-date funds continues at a brisk pace, and many good and valuable refinements will undoubtedly follow in the coming years,” said Russ Shipman, senior vice president and managing director of Janus’ Retirement Strategy Group. “With Baby Boomers’ laser-like focus on retirement income, we believe interest rate risk within the fixed income allocations of target-date funds will soon get much-deserved air time and scrutiny. Just as equity bets drove material differences in 2010-dated products during the 2008 market swoon, so too could ill-advised fixed income duration profiles for near-dated target-date fund offerings in a rising rate environment.”

The survey also revealed that balanced funds are perceived by plan sponsors as the best QDIA option for investment transparency and lower fees, and are on-par with target-date funds as the best choice for overall performance. While almost half of respondents indicated that target-date funds are the best QDIA for their employee populations, balanced and target-risk funds were the combined second choice, with 20% of respondents indicating that these products are the best option. Additionally, 22% of plans said they would be willing to replace their target-date funds with balanced or target-risk funds to eliminate the “to” or “through” glide path dilemma.

“The affinity for target-date funds is justifiably broad and deep, but future generations of the products may continue to see increased pressure from balanced funds,” said Shipman. “Given balanced funds’ simplicity and proven track records, we have observed plan sponsors, both big and small, routinely selecting them as a QDIA.”

The survey, which has been conducted annually for five years in conjunction with Asset International, Inc., focuses on QDIA fund selection, construction, monitoring and satisfaction. It reflected comments from a cross-section of nearly 7,000 DC plan sponsors from a wide range of industries across the country, with strong representation from the large and mega plan segments. The survey was conducted via an online questionnaire from July to September 2011.

About Janus Capital Group Inc.

Janus Capital Group Inc. (JCG) is a global investment firm offering strategies from three individual investment boutiques: Janus Capital Management LLC (Janus), INTECH Investment Management LLC (INTECH) and Perkins Investment Management LLC (Perkins). Each manager employs a research-intensive approach that is distinct within its respective asset class. This multi-boutique approach enables the firm to provide style-specific expertise across an array of strategies, including growth, value and risk-managed equities, fixed income and alternatives through one common distribution platform.

At the end of September 2011, JCG managed $141.0 billion in assets for shareholders, clients and institutions around the globe. Based in Denver, JCG also has offices in London, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Melbourne.

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives carefully before investing. For a prospectus containing this and other information, please call Janus at 1-877-335-2687 or download the file from Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Performance of life-cycle, target-date and target-risk funds depends on the investments in the underlying funds. They are subject to volatility of the financial markets in the U.S. and abroad and to additional risks associated with investing.

Funds that invest in bonds have the same interest rate, inflation, and credit risks that are associated with the underlying bonds owned by the fund. Unlike owning individual bonds, there are ongoing fees and expenses associated with owning shares of bond funds. The return of principal is not guaranteed due to net asset value fluctuation that is caused by changes in the price of specific bonds held in the fund and selling of bonds within the fund by the portfolio manager(s).

As with all investments, plan participants must make their own determination whether an investment in any particular security is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, financial situation and with their evaluation of the securities offered by the employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Janus Funds distributed by Janus Distributors LLC (11/11)

Rona Gilbert, 303-336-4566

Source: Janus Capital Group Inc.