Survey: K Plan Participation, Deferral Rates Dropping

October 25, 2002 ( - Participation rates in 401(k) plans have dropped 10 percentage points in the last three years to 70% while deferral rates are down from 8.6% to 7% during the same period, a new survey found.

According to the Spectrem Group, 401(k) plans also now offer more investment choices on average. K plans now offer an average 11 investment options, up from 10.2 in 1999.

The study found that the proportion of plan assets held in equity options declined from 43% in 1999 to the current 30%.

Finally, the amount of assets in company stock also decreased from 19% in 1999 to 11% in the current study.

Spectrem also found that about half of 401(k) plan sponsors say they supply rollover literature to retiring and terminated workers instead of getting the literature from their plan provider. Providers generate the rollover information in 53% of the cases. Altogether, nearly 90% of sponsors say that their retiring and terminated employees receive rollover information.

Potential rollovers could be significant since 20% of participants in plans covered in the Spectrem survey have more than $100,000 in their accounts, the survey said.