The chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging has called for more scrutiny of target-date retirement funds after several 2010 target-date funds posted huge losses in 2008.

"While it may be too late for those who already have suffered substantial and irreversible financial losses, it is vital that aggressive and timely action be taken to protect the retirement income of all Americans," said Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), in letters to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro and U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Target-date funds are meant to automatically rebalance an investor's portfolio to more conservative asset allocations as they approach retirement. In theory, 2010 funds should be very conservative, yet one 2010 fund lost 41% last year, Kohl said.

Because taking excessive risk can be devastating to investors who are close to retirement, he said new regulation or legislation may be needed to make investors more aware of the risk of these funds.

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