Many target-date retirement funds are still heavily invested in risky, high-yield junk bonds in order to give investors the yields they promise, Bloomberg reports.
Six of the top nine target-date fund providers contain high-yield corporate bonds in their 2010 portfolios as of September, according to Morningstar Inc.
John Hancock’s Lifecycle 2010 fund had 35% invested in below-investment-grade bonds, followed by Principal Funds’ LifeTime 2010 Fund, with 21%; the Fidelity Freedom 2010 Fund, with 17.1%; T. Rowe Price’s Retirement 2010 Fund, 13.1%; American Funds’ American 2010 Target Date Retirement Fund, 11.4% and TIAA-CREF’s Lifecycle 2010 Fund, with 6.6%.
“People are uninformed of the massive amount of risk they’re undertaking,” said Tim Wood, a Portland, Oregon-based retirement plan fiduciary. “Participants accept that someone has gone through these things and they’re reasonable.”
“I am extremely disturbed by the amount of junk bonds found in many 2010 target-date funds,” said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., and chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. “Stronger regulation is needed to ensure that participants on the brink of retirement are not exposed to such excessive risk.”