8:45 am EDT - 12:30 pm EDT

Past Event

Improving 401(k) Asset Choices: Avoiding the Next Enron

Thursday, June 10, 2004

8:45 am - 12:30 pm EDT

Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC

How can we prevent the next Enron and improve investment choices throughout the 401(k) system without curtailing individual choice? In building a retirement nest egg, there is one investment principle on which all of the experts agree: diversification. But many (401)k participants do not act on this advice. Most participants have either very aggressive portfolios (over 80 percent equity) or very conservative portfolios (no equity). And nearly half of participants with access to their own company’s stock hold more than 20 percent of their 401(k) assets in this form. In response to the lack of diversification, researchers, policy experts, and financial services companies have developed potential solutions. Typically, these approaches would diversify an individual’s portfolio automatically over time. The “auto-pilot” approach offers the potential to significantly improve asset diversification for many 401(k) participants, while still allowing them the freedom to make different choices if they prefer.

Leading academic and legal experts—including Richard Thaler, Alicia Munnell, and Mark Iwry—will join industry representatives and others at the Brookings Institution on the morning of Thursday, June 10 to examine these issues.

Meeting Agenda:

8:45-9:00 Continental Breakfast

William Gale, Brookings Institution

9:00-9:30 Overview of Investment Issues in 401(k) Plans

Alicia H. Munnell, Boston College

9:30-10:00 Keynote Speaker: Congressman Benjamin Cardin (D-Md)

10:00-10:15 Coffee Break

10:15-11:05 Investments in Company Stock

Richard Thaler, University of Chicago

David Wray, Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America

11:05-12:05 Investment Reforms: Emerging Solutions in the Public and Private Sector

Mark Iwry, Brookings Institution

Michael Henkel, Ibbotson Associates
John Kimpel, Fidelity Investments

This forum is being funded by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research via a grant from the Social Security Administration.