Index, Large Cap Squeeze Past Balanced 401(k) Options

November 2, 2000 ( - Participants are getting more choices, with 12.4 the average number of investment options now offered according to a new survey that also revealed that equity index and large company stock funds were the most common choices.

This year index funds and US large cap stock funds were the most common, with each category offered by 76% of the 324 plans surveyed.  Balanced funds, which topped 1999’s list when offered by 77%, fell to just 70% this year. 

International equity, and U.S. bond funds also topped the most popular fund types.

Size Matters

The average number of investment options jumped from 9.7 last year, according to preliminary results from the BARRA RogersCasey/IOMA Defined Contribution Survey. Over the past three years, the number of funds offered has increased by nearly 60%.

Plans with more than 10,000 participants offered the highest number of options, 17.5 on average, while plans with 251 – 1,000 participants offered 11.2 choices. Those with less than 250 participants offered more – 12.48 on average.

Preview of Coming Attractions

Sector funds showed up in 9% of plans, while REITs (real estate investment trusts) were offered by 1%.

U.S. mid cap active funds were the most popular options added in the past year, and were also most cited as the most likely to be added in the next 12 months (11%).  Small cap additions were being considered by 7.9%, while lifestyle funds were noted by 6.3%.

The plans surveyed represented about 2.4 million participants with $203 billion in combined plan assets.