Retirement-plan providers have moved ahead, and some of the 24,500 401(k) plans that Fidelity Investments administers began offering bitcoin in their investment menus this fall, the company said. ForUsAll Inc., a San Francisco-based 401(k) provider that caters to small companies and has $1.4 billion in retirement-plan assets, says 50 of its 550 clients began allowing workers to invest some of their retirement savings in cryptocurrency, including bitcoin and ether, about eight weeks ago.
The 401(k) companies are launching their crypto offerings amid a bear market that has caused steep selloffs in many cryptocurrencies. Since hitting a high of more than $66,000 in November 2021, bitcoin has fallen to $20,092.
The U.S. Labor Department, which regulates company-sponsored retirement plans, earlier this year cautioned employers to "exercise extreme care before they consider adding a cryptocurrency option to a 401(k) plan's investment menu," guidance that has had a chilling effect on some employers and providers.
Fidelity, the nation's largest 401(k) plan provider -- with $3.3 trillion in the plans it administers -- declined to provide details about companies offering its cryptocurrency option. It announced the offering earlier this year, citing demand from employers and workers.
My first reaction is what could go wrong? Afterall, we are talking about what amounts to the most volatile asset class in history. Fidelity has led the market by offering custody services for cryptocurrencies. In opening up pension assets for investment in bitcoin, a significantly larger pool of potential buyers is now exposed to an exceptionally volatile asset class. It is to be hoped positions are sized accordingly, though that is seldom the case for individual investors.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top