Some 401(k) Statements Dazzle DALBAR

December 5, 2000 ( - Five 401(k) statements were the only ones to achieve DALBAR's "Excellent" designation in their annual evaluation of financial services statements.

The 401(k) statements provided by T. Rowe Price, Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, Principal Financial and Scudder Kemper topped the survey, and were cited by DALBAR as doing an outstanding job of disclosing information without causing confusion.

The next highest scoring category was brokerage/multi-product statements, where Merrill Lynch and American Express tied for top honors.

Among mutual fund statements, Strong earned the top score, while New York Life had the best variable annuity statement.

The Investor Statement Analysis 2000 study found that most statements either disclose what regulations require – or what institutions want to tell their clients – but not the information that is of greatest interest to clients.  

The survey identified the following underreported elements:

  • comparisons of performance to benchmarks
  • personalized investment returns
  • customization of what is presented
  • discussion of the services available to the investor

DALBAR was formed in 1976 and provides benchmarks and ratings for financial services companies. They also produce the Bank Study, Client Tracking Survey, and Defined Contribution Ratings.