Blending Active and Passive in TDFs

Target Date Funds (TDFs) are often categorized by being active or passive based on the makeup of the underlying holdings. Many issuers also offer blended or hybrid TDF series, which utilize both active and passive underlying holdings. However, the specific blend of active and passive holdings can be very different among issuers.


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2Q20 Target Glidepath Changes

Target Date Fund (TDF) issuers have a stated target glidepath they adhere to when building asset allocation within the different vintages. One caveat is that many issuers have the ability to adjust exposure from this target/baseline exposure based on market conditions. However, issuers also have the ability to alter this target glidepath as they see fit. Often, these changes are relatively minor, but sometimes a more significant shift may occur.


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2Q20 Target Date Fund Performance

With the market trepidation of the 1st quarter having quickly receded, the 2nd quarter was notable for its complete turnaround performance-wise. Equities climbed significantly higher, with some areas of the market surpassing recent highs from late March. Fixed income kept moving right along as interest rates stayed relatively flat during the quarter. So, how did Target Date Fund performance fare?


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Comparing Passive Target Date Funds

We’ve talked a fair amount about Passive vs Active TDFs, which refers to the type of underlying vehicles the TDF utilizes. (Note: There’s also Blend TDF which use a mix of active as passive vehicles). While these passive TDFs each follow their own glidepath, the holdings themselves are not necessarily homogeneous. In the following we’ll compare the underlying exposures of the top passive TDFs.


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1Q20 Target Date Flows

As we all know by now, the first quarter was a tumultuous time in the market. Investors were spooked for the first time in a while, which can affect flows. Additionally, with annual retirement plan reviews occurring in late 2019 and early 2020—in advance of this surge in volatility—we believe it is possible that many plan sponsors may have switched to a new target date offering.


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