401(k) Participants Less Active in October

November 16, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Average daily transfer volume among defined contribution (DC) plan participants was very low during October, according to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index.

Just 0.017% of total balances transferred daily while the trailing 12-month daily average, which continued to decline, sits at 0.024%. No days in October had transfer activity above normal while three days were actually more than 70% below normal daily levels.

Total net transfer activity in October amounted to $192 million or 0.14% of total participant balances. While not the lowest level this year, October’s measurement of volume is still very low by comparison.

Within the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index, net daily transfers favored fixed income funds for nearly three-quarters (71%) of the days in October, representing $123 million in total flows or 0.09% of total assets. When company stock activity is excluded, however, equity outflows account for just $16 million (0.01%) of participant balances.

Most of the outflows for October were from equities: company stock funds lost the most in the amount of $106 million (55%), while small U.S. equities accounted for $43 million (22%), and emerging markets had $17 million (9%) of the outflows. Midcap U.S. funds also lost $13 million (7%).

For net inflows in October, bond funds had the largest gains which totaled $66 million (34%). Among other fixed-income asset classes money market funds took in $26 million (14%). Lifestyle/pre-mixed funds had $45 million (23%) of inflows while the international asset class, which was the only class exclusively based in equities to see significant gains, received $37 million (19%).

On average, 62% of employee discretionary contributions were directed to equities for October, which is down slightly from September (62.1%). Participants’ overall equity allocation decreased half a percentage to reach 59.5% by the end of October. The decline in stock values was the largest factor in this decrease.

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