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Assessing Default Investment Strategies in Defined Contribution Pension Plans

Pablo Antolin (), Stéphanie Payet and Juan Yermo

OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, 2010, vol. 2010, issue 1, 87-115

Abstract: This paper assesses the relative performance of different investment strategies for different structures of the payout phase. In particular, it looks at whether the specific glide-path of life-cycle investment strategies and the introduction of dynamic features in the design of default investment strategies affect significantly retirement income outcomes. The analysis concludes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” default investment option. Life-cycle and dynamic investment strategies deliver comparable replacement rates adjusted by risk. However, life-cycle strategies that maintain a constant exposure to equities during most of the accumulation period, switching swiftly to bonds in the last decade before retirement, seem to produce better results and are easier to explain. Dynamic management strategies can provide somewhat higher replacement rates for a given level of risk than the more deterministic strategies, at least in the case of pay-outs in the form of variable withdrawals. The length of the contribution period also affects the ranking of the different investment strategies with life-cycle strategies having a stronger positive impact the shorter is the contribution period.

Date: 2010
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