In this case, it’s not really a waiver but a deferral of fees and, as stated in the last sentence of the footnote, applying these additional deferred fees on the fund could well have the affect of keeping the interest paid to investors down for a lengthy period.
Stable value funds are soap box racers that now face constraints that will limit their top speed. Our money market funds will soon have the performance attributes of a pinewood derby car dressed up as a turtle, with a smallish piano on its back. I haven’t read the official pinewood derby rule book as of yet, but this does not sound like a winning configuration.
A number of money market funds already post their actual daily asset values. Floating NAV money market funds have been in place for several years in Europe. As this latest reform essentially only involves about a third of the money market universe (prime funds) and will be phased in over two years it is hard to predict what impact this will have – particularly with the dearth of available options for those looking for what they believe to be a risk-free rate of return.
It might also help to recall that almost all of these tax breaks were passed because they included a “sunset” provision which would roll them back to the original levels — only to have the sunset later removed by our elected officials
The crux of the unhappiness of the wrap providers is, in their view, forcing a plan to wait a year to withdraw its funds intact from Stable Value Fund ABC isn’t equitable with the interest rate risk being taken by the fund (a 12-month put doesn’t match the potential of a 3% loss of principal).
That leaves us with the ambiguous, often conflicting set of answers to the questions within the realm of 401(k)s. The best path forward is likely one that involves many questions, as well as documentation of those questions and the answers that emerge. The ability to make a choice comes at a price – “Without a doubt.”
Where does the money generated by this fee go? To put it another way, who am I paying? The chart below shows a typical split of how this 1% annual operating expense is allocated. This is the basic framework of how investing meets revenue sharing.
Recordkeeping companies have typically marketed their products assuming that some, or all, of their fees would be paid by the revenue sharing from the funds within their client’s plans.
Fund companies actually tailor the expenses of their funds to provide differing levels of revenue for their recordkeeping partners.
When the potential upside of a stable value fund – versus a money market fund — was 1.5%, it was easier to justify the complexity of the investment.
If you find you’ve now run afoul of the equity wash restrictions, there is, by design, little you can do to avoid them. Here are a few ideas that may be worth considering…
The takeaway for investors is that the paranoia on the part of the stable value managers has resulted in real life limitations. Many employers will offer only a stable value or money market option – not both. If there is no competing option, then there is no need for an equity wash.
The perceived benefits of the Treasury Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Funds were a bit wanting as expenses related to participation by the fund managers were being passed directly to investors.
I think I should clear up some misconceptions about this Treasury Money Market Guarantee Program and what it actually means.
Stable value funds have thus far lived up to their name during the cataclysmic year that has been 2008. This is, without a doubt, a good thing.
Stable value and money market funds have more differences than similarities. These differences do not necessarily make one better than the other but it is fair to say that the average stable value fund should credit a higher rate of interest than the average money market fund over the long haul.
When it comes to the long term, most of us would instead prefer to think of the here and now. The longevity of a star manager is finite — a matter of when, not if.
When it comes to managed account services the fellow who says he’ll meet you halfway usually thinks he’s standing on the dividing line.
Descriptors like fast are, in my view, problematic for the same reason that ratings for things like 401(k) plans are unreliable: they lack context.