Companies with high levels of their own stock in their retirement plans often fail to scale back their exposure even when they're heading into financial straits, according to a new study.

The result, the study said, can lead to significant losses to participants' retirement savings, suggesting a need for limits on how much such stock should be held by a company plan.

The research, by academics at Boston College, the University of California, Riverside and the University of Alberta, found that large stakes in company stock see little variation in the years before struggling companies fall into default or even bankruptcy. 

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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.