Skip to main content

Using Target Date Funds as a QDIA


The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) encouraged employers to adopt automatic enrollment features for their participant‐directed plans by providing a new type of fiduciary liability relief for “default investments,” or Qualified Default Investment Alternatives (QDIAs).

A QDIA is used when a participant fails to make his or her own election. An investment must have specific qualifications to be considered a QDIA. Importantly, a QDIA’s asset allocation strategy need only take into account participant age, and does not need to consider an individual participant’s risk tolerance or other investment assets.

The three general categories that may be used for a QDIA are life‐cycle or target date funds (TDFs), balanced funds, or managed accounts. Target retirement date funds have overwhelmingly become the favored QDIA choice among fiduciaries. 


Target date mutual fund assets grew to $763 billion by December 31, 2015. In 2015, $69 billion in net new monies were invested into the funds. This was an all-time new asset flow high.

While target date strategies have garnered an increasingly significant proportion of retirement assets since they were approved as QDIAs by PPA, there may be value in offering a balanced fund within the lineup as well. A balanced fund will provide exposure to both stocks and bonds, and typically offers a static 60% stock/40% bond allocation. This investment option might appeal to participants who are not comfortable with a TDF and want allocation to both stocks and bonds within one vehicle.

Read 4 Steps to Building an Optimal Retirement Plan Lineup for Participants and download the Fiduciary Checklist for Target Date Fund Decisions to learn more. If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by calling (800) 388-1963 or e-mail us at hbs@hanys.org.

Popular posts from this blog

COVID-19: Retirement and Benefit Plan Resources

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, we are closely monitoring news and updates from top sources. We’ll be updating this section as new developments unfold. Here are several key articles and links to help plan sponsors and administrators navigate the COVID-19 impact to retirement and benefit plans: Retirement Plans 4 Key CARES Act Provisions for Retirement Plan Sponsors Markets React to Coronavirus   Important Considerations for Retirement Plan Sponsors during the Coronavirus Pandemic In Fed We Trust Participant Education Services: Timely Help from a Safe Distance CRDs 100% Taxable for New York State and Local Income Tax Purposes in 2020 IRS Permits Remote Notarization of Participant Elections   Employee Benefits CARES Act Expands Health Coverage Rules Understanding the Historic $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Employee Compensation and Benefits During Closures and Furloughs DOL Clarifies Exemptions to Coronavirus Paid Leave Laws Small Business Exemption to

Coronavirus-related distributions 100% taxable for New York state and local income tax purposes in 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27. Under the Act, participants affected by the coronavirus may be able to take distributions in 2020 of up to $100,000 from an employer-sponsored retirement plan or an IRA. Although allowing these distributions from a qualified retirement plan is optional, we have seen that a number of employers have chosen to amend their plans to permit such distributions. The Act provides that coronavirus-related distributions will not be subject to the mandatory 20% withholding nor the 10% early withdrawal penalty (for those younger than 59½) that would otherwise apply.

Timely Elections of 457(b) Distributions

If you sponsor a non-governmental 457(b) tax-exempt plan for your key management and highly compensated employees, perhaps the most significant administrative task occurs at the time participants sever employment.  Each 457(b) plan has a specified time period by which a participant may make an election to defer payment and timely postpone taxation by electing a future distribution date.  If no timely election is made by the end of the specified time period (“default date”), payment will commence within a generally brief period of time after the default date elapses, which may not be what the participant intended.