Online Access to Plan Information Surges

December 24, 2001 ( - More plan sponsors are getting with the information age by allowing participants access to around the clock plan information, according to a survey by William M Mercer.

Results of the survey show that:

  • a striking 96% of plan sponsors offer their employees online access to account data, compared to 3% in 1998
  • 93% offer participants online access to fund performance information, compared to 23% three years ago.

In addition:

  • almost 90% allow online transactions by participants
  • a little over 80% post their benefit plan information on the Web
  • 65% provide online retirement planning guides
  • a little over half allow their participants to access their statements online
  • 27% offer online investment advice

Respondents were also asked how the Internet or intranet had affected their plans:

  • among sponsors of plans comprising over 10,000 eligible employees, almost half said it increased participation
  • only 19% of smaller plans, those with less than 1,000 eligible employees, did so.

The greatest perceived impact on retirement plans was in asset diversification, where 62% of respondents felt it had had a positive effect, according to Mercer.

The sample comprised responses from 252 organizations. The assets of the surveyed plans totaled $125 billion, and the average number of eligible employees per plan surveyed was 8,100.

Read more about the survey here .