via Wall Street Journal
People saving for retirement in workplace 401(k) plans may soon see changes to the lowest-risk choices on their investment menus.
The adjustments—which have occurred already at some plans but are under consideration at many more, consultants said—are in response to new rules for money-market mutual funds that will take effect in October. “Prime” money funds that buy both corporate and government debt will be required to charge redemption fees if they are swamped by withdrawals amid market turmoil. They also will be required to set up procedures to suspend redemptions in some cases.
As a result, many 401(k) plans are looking at shifting to money funds that buy only government debt, which aren’t required to have redemption fees or set up “gates” to block withdrawals.
“Plan sponsors do not want to be exposed to a situation where plan participants can’t get their money, regardless of how remote that possibility is,” said Philip Suess, a partner at investment consulting firm Mercer LLC in Chicago.