NU Online News Service, Oct. 25, 11:30 a.m. – Nearly half of Americans surveyed by CIGNA Retirement and Investment Services say they will pursue new investment strategies if their retirement-account performance doesn’t improve by the end of the year.

For their part, employers told researchers they are unprepared to provide the retirement-planning information employees need to make informed decisions.

These findings of the “Workplace Report on Retirement Planning” report were uncovered in two surveys commissioned by CIGNA Retirement, a unit of CIGNA Corp., Hartford, during the last two weeks in September.

One poll reached 1,000 consumers; the other collected responses from 504 human resource executives involved in administering retirement plans.

The surveys found that, in spite of concerns about recent performance, most Americans are keeping faith in their 401(k)s, despite the recent volatility of plan stock portfolios.

Those looking to make changes are interested in reallocating their portfolios or increasing their contribution levels, as recent pension reform makes possible, CIGNA finds.

But 47% of HR executives say they are unprepared to provide retirement planning advice to employees. In fact, many say that educating their workforce about retirement benefits is their biggest challenge, and employees give them low marks for their efforts.

Moreover, CIGNA says, only 30% of companies have tried to promote employee awareness of enhanced retirement savings options available under legislation that takes effect in January 2002.