Explainers Finance and Trade

401(k)s and Private Company Investments—Open the Door

Jerry Theodorou
Policy Director, Finance, Insurance and Trade
Caroline Melear
Resident Fellow, Finance, Insurance and Trade

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Alternative investment asset classes, such as private equity, hedge funds and real estate, have traditionally been viewed as investment vehicles exclusively available to wealthy and institutional investors. State pension plans and private defined benefit plans also include investments in these alternative asset classes, allowing their plan holders greater diversification, leading to superior long-term returns. But these asset classes have traditionally been off limits for defined contribution 401(k) plans—the dominant retirement income source in the country. The tens of millions of 401(k) plan holders should have the opportunity to access superior returns and wealth building enabled by including alternatives in their plans.

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