Survey Team Finds Annuitization Option Gap

Offering 'nothing' is more common than offering income annuities

(Image: Thinkstock) (Image: Thinkstock)

Few 401(k) plan sponsors help retirees convert their assets into a lifetime stream of income, according to analysts at the Transamerica Center for Health Statistics.

Center analysts found that only 17% of the participating employers, and just 16% of the employers with five to 99 employees, offer retirees access to income annuity payout options.

(Related: Prudential Aims to Improve Retirement Saving Hygiene)

The center analysts included those figures in a summary of results from an online survey of 1,802 U.S. employers conducted in late 2016.

The center is a Los Angeles-based research organization that gets much of its funding from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and other affiliates of Aegon N.V.

The center analysts found that employer efforts to offer retiring 401(k) plan participants educational resources are much more common than efforts to offer concrete help with managing 401(k) plan account assets.

About 33% of the sponsors said they offer some kind of educational resources, compared with just 28% that let retirees keep their money in the plan, and 21% that let retirees take money out in the form of systematic withdrawals.

The analysts noted that the percentage of sponsors that let retirees keep money in the plan, or take systematic withdrawals, is low even though "regulations concerning terminated participants may require that companies perform these actions."

About 25% of the sponsors said they do "nothing" for retiring plan participants. Doing nothing for retirees was the sixth most popular option on the retirement transition assistance option list.

--- Read Transamerica Center Finds Big Health Sales Gaps on ThinkAdvisor.

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