The U.S., U.K. and Australia, the world's leaders in transitioning retirement assets into defined contribution plans, are exposing their participants to a degree of risk beyond their capacity to bear, according to a PIMCO research paper. 

As the three countries have become more dependent on self-directed plans, and are expected to grow more so in the future, each has developed "dramatically different" plan design and investment management styles, according to Pimco's perspective. 

That fact alone should raise some red flags, says the paper. 

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.