With regards to the big company plans, many of them have trimmed their positions considerably with respect to investing in alternative investments like hedge funds because fund managers are having trouble beating the market indexes. However, over the past 5 years I have seen a large shift by self-employe business owners who open a Solo 401k plans invest in alternative assets such as real estate, precious metals, tax liens, notes and private equity.
Unfortunately with the conventional retirement accounts you don't have many options for alternative investments. What you need is to take control over your retirement account with truly self-directed IRA or Solo 401k, which would enable you to have unlimited investment choices.
While I don't have stats on it, I think that's a "yes." Interest in AAs (and Alternative Strategies) has been growing rapidly among both advisers and investors. So it shouldn't surprise us to see inroads into the 401(k) market. You may already know...the options in your 401(k) line-up depend on what your plan sponsor has approved (or their investment adviser if they've contracted out investment selection).
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