Participants Look, But Can't "Touch" Accounts Via Web

November 30, 2000 ( - The vast majority of plan sponsors now offer participants Internet access to their defined contribution accounts, but PLAN SPONSOR's 2000 Defined Contribution Services Survey found that the message is look, but don't touch for a sizeable number.

Account balance lookup was offered by nearly 90% of responding plans, a consistent statistic across all market segments.  Access to loans/withdrawals was a feature enjoyed by more than three-quarters of respondents, roughly double the pace of a year earlier (39%).

However, online transfers of fund balances was available at just 16.5% of respondents – and only 12.3% of plans with more than $200 million in assets.

Getting In, Online

Online enrollment was offered by about a third (35%) of the plans, more than triple the 10% reported a year ago.  However, only about a quarter (27.4%) of those with less than $5 million in assets did so, compared with nearly half of the plans with more than $50 million in assets.

Oddly, while roughly a third of plans with less than $50 million in assets permitted online deferral changes, just a quarter of the largest plans were so inclined. 

Roughly half of respondents indicated they offered financial advice via the Web, a finding at odds with other results in the survey.  While nearly 44% offered savings calculators, over 60% of those with more than $200 million in assets did.

Survey results were based on the collective responses of nearly 1500 plan sponsors.

– Nevin Adams

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