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BlackRock LifePath Index Target-Date Series

This remains a first-class target-date series.

The following is our latest Fund Analyst Report for BlackRock LifePath Index target-date series. Morningstar Premium Members have access to full analyst reports such as this for more than 1,000 of the largest and best mutual funds. Not a Premium Member? Gain full access to our analyst reports and advanced tools immediately when you try Morningstar Premium free for 14 days.

A new lead manager oversees the BlackRock LifePath Index target-date series, but we continue to have confidence in the leadership, depth, and resources of the overall team. It continues to earn a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold for its cheapest share classes and Silver for its more expensive ones. 

In December 2020, Chris Chung replaced Matt O'Hara as lead manager on this series. Chung has been on the team since 2008 and was promoted to head of asset allocation in 2018. He'll continue to lead the team's research agenda, and we don't expect any significant changes to that process or its rigor. The team added Partha Mamidipudi as head of human capital research, which, in concert with the asset-allocation research, informs the glide path. Mamidipudi was head of LifePath research until 2016 and helped build out the firm's retirement income calculator tool.

O'Hara is no longer with the firm; he was the only departure from the team in December. Although his contributions were significant, such as leading the research that overhauled the series' glide path in 2014, we believe the team is still strongly positioned to continue to deliver for investors over the long term.

The team takes a methodical approach to tweaking this index-based series, typically making only small changes annually. In 2019, the team lowered the series' overweighting in global REITs early in the glide path to 5% from 16% to put more emphasis on growing assets early through broader equity index funds. The team's willingness to revisit, and reverse, prior assumptions is another sign of its forward-thinking nature.

This series invests in passive index funds only, which helps keep costs down but also gives management fewer tools to outperform over shorter periods compared with more active strategies that can tactically tilt the portfolio or select talented active managers. Still, we are confident in management's ability to evolve in order to best serve shareholders and that the series' low costs will win out over the long term.