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Schwab Finds Advice Hunger

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About 80% of financial and human resources executives are saying increased access to 401(k) plan investment planning advice is more important for employees now than it was a year ago.

Charles Schwab Corp., San Francisco, is reporting that finding in a summary of results from a survey of about 200 finance and human resources executives at employers with more than $100 million in annual revenue.

The company found that 66% of the executives polled said making more financial education available in the workplace is more important for employees now than it was a year ago.

Despite the recent market setbacks, 51% of the executives said they see no change in 401(k) plan participation rates.

But 88% of the executives reported that employees who are within 5 years of retirement are very concerned about the adequacy of their retirement planning, and 58% said the possibility of employees losing confidence in their 401(k) plan is one of the most significant retirement planning issues their companies will face in the coming year.

Although 96% of the executives identified the employer matching contribution as the most important plan feature, availability of investment advice also ranked high on the executives’ list of key features: 87% of executives cited advice as being very important.

Since September 2008, 57% of the executives said they have seen an increase in employee requests for 401(k) plan advice, and 39% said they have seen an increase in requests for broader financial education, such as help with budgeting and debt management.