DC Participants Flee Equities in Q308

December 11, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Defined contribution plan activity rose as participants reacted to economic turmoil by reallocating their portfolios away from equity assets to fixed income funds, according to The Callan DC Index report for third quarter.

A Callan press release said total Index turnover reached 1.13% for the quarter ended September 30, 2008 – well above the quarterly historical average of 0.78%. Stable value, money market, and domestic bond funds collectively captured nearly 80% of inflows. Target-date funds were the only exception to participants’ flight to fixed income with an inflow of 18.6%.

Callan said inertia among younger investors, who comprise a large share of target date fund participants, was in effect in the third quarter and a strong correlation exists between portfolio size and investor activity.

The Index, down 8.04%, outperformed the average 2030 target date fund, which lost 11.6% in the third quarter. High equity allocation in 2030 target-date-funds – 85% compared to 66.7% in the typical DC plan – proved a significant liability this quarter, the press release said.

The Index also outpaced the average corporate defined benefit plan, which returned -8.35% for the quarter.

The Callan DC Index tracks the asset flows and performance of approximately 70 participant-directed plans comprised of more than 800,000 participants and $50 billion in retirement assets.