IRA Rollover Contributions Could Total $2 Trillion in 2015: FRC

Still, workers find advantages in leaving assets with former employers' retirement plans

The Financial Research Corp. announced Wednesday that it expected IRA rollover contributions to total $2 trillion between 2011 and 2015. Rollovers have historically been a "major source of contributions for IRAs," according to the report, and will continue to be a major driver.

The release noted that it was “increasingly attractive” for workers to leave money in former employers’ retirement plans when they changed jobs.

"There are a lot of workers where 401(k)s make up the lion's share of their savings," Matt Schott, vice president and retirement income practice leader at FRC, told AdvisorOne. "Things are evolving to where, particularly if they have a good relationship with their employer when they leave, it makes sense to leave assets where they are."

Another reason declining to roll assets over is attractive to workers is that funds often have embedded institutional pricing, Schott said, particularly in large plans, that workers may lose if they roll assets over.

"Additionally, there's a growing presence of advice capabilities in plans, which is particularly important for investors for whom their 401(k) is the majority of their investable assets," Schott added.

"There's a caveat. While capabilities are being developed, it's all controlled by the plan sponsor who has to want to make those capabilities available. "

Overall, assets in defined-contribution plans are estimated to be $9 trillion, and FRC expects that will continue to grow to over $13 trillion in 2015.

The largest opportunity for asset managers, according to FRC, is adopting open architecture in target-date funds. Open architecture provides advisors with an opportunity to "pry market share away" from proprietary funds offered by recordkeepers. Furthermore, a majority of managers surveyed by FRC agreed that open architecture provides a "substantial and growing opportunity to garner and retain assets."

In a statement, Schott called open architecture "inevitable," adding that it is one of the major factors that will make 401(k)s popular among investors in retirement.

"There's a trend toward open architecture in target-date funds," he told AdvisorOne. "As more firms sign up for automatic enrollment, we should continue to see growth in assets, and in turn, more pressure from participants and sponsors to open up funds offered."

In order to capture more plan share, asset managers should perform to their stated objective, according to Schott. "If you say you're a small cap value fund, be a small cap value fund."

Managers must also keep in mind that as a result of the downturn, sponsors and participants are more concerned with risk management, Schott said. He expects stable value funds will increase in popularity.

"Additionally, we're in a low-interest rate environment, which is particularly important for retirees, who need strategies that are easy to explain and can generate income," Schott said.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.