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Retirement Assets Flowing Toward Fixed Funds

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 24, 2:22 p.m. – Hewitt Associates L.L.C., Lincolnshire, Ill., says its 401(k) index shows participants in 401(k) plans are moving assets out of stock funds.

Because of asset transfers and drops in stock prices, the 1.5 million plan participants the firm tracks now have an average of only 63.3% of their plan assets in stock funds, down from an average of about 71.5% earlier in the year.

Last week, the plan participants tracked shifted a total of 1.15% of their plan assets from one account to another, compared with a typical transfer volume of about 0.33% of assets.

On the worst day, Sept. 17, asset transfers amounted to 0.58% of plan assets, or about nine times the usual transfer volume.

Most of the money that moved flowed into fixed-income accounts, Hewitt says.

But the benefits consulting firm is emphasizing that plan participants are continuing to invest the majority of their new plan contributions in stocks and stock funds.