NASD Foundation Funds Rutgers University-Camden Study to Explore 401(k) Fund Choices by Women Investors
Washington, D.C.— The NASD Investor Education Foundation has awarded $73,404 to Rutgers University-Camden to conduct a national, two-year research project to analyze how the number of funds available in a 401(k) or other defined contribution retirement plan impacts investor choices, especially among women.
Previous Rutgers-Camden research indicates that while most investors like 401(k) plans better when they offer larger fund assortments, larger assortments in fact harm the quality of their investment decisions and distort the accuracy of some of their investment perceptions. Rutgers-Camden researchers are particularly interested in how larger fund assortments affect women's investment choices.
Maureen Morrin, associate professor of marketing at the Rutgers University School of Business at Camden is the principal investigator and will work with John Broussard, of - Rutgers-Camden, Jeffrey Inman of the University of Pittsburgh and Susan Broniarczyk of the University of Texas, Austin.
The new series of studies, collectively titled Exploring Solutions to the Fund Assortment Problem, will involve surveying nationally representative samples of adults. It will examine the effects of offering investors larger mutual fund assortments on investment decision quality, portfolio diversification, performance expectations and customer satisfaction. Researchers hope to generate findings about how increasing the size of fund assortments can harm investor decision quality, especially among women. They also hope to explore potential information dissemination solutions so that employers and 401(k) providers can use these to address the problem.
"The rapid expansion of 401(k) and other defined contribution retirement plans marks the new era of personal responsibility for planning and funding one's own retirement," said Robert R. Glauber, Chairman & CEO of NASD, who also serves as Chairman of the NASD Investor Education Foundation. "The investment choices we make for our 401(k) plans today will have a major impact on our financial security and quality of life in retirement. So it is crucial that we make the best possible decisions from the start."
The NASD Investor Education Foundation, established in 2003, supports educational programs and research with the goal of providing investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand investing and the markets. The Foundation recently awarded more than $1 million in total to 11 organizations, including Rutgers University-Camden, for new educational programs and research projects targeting the underserved segments of the population. The NASD Investor Education Foundation formally launched its second full grant cycle on April 5, inviting non-profit groups and researchers to apply for funding. Grant proposals must be submitted by June 3, 2005. For details about grant programs and other new initiatives of the Foundation, visit www.nasdfoundation.org.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation. NASD believes that understanding should precede investing - and that education is often the best form of investor protection. NASD's broad range of investor education programs include Investor Alerts, brochures and online resource guides on such critical topics as mutual fund class shares and 401(k) and college savings plans. This information is distributed through its Web site, www.nasd.com, printed materials and Investor Forums.