Large retirement plan sponsors are persuading a higher percentage of employees to join the plans.

The percentage of large 401(k) plans with participation rates over 80% has increased to 44%, from 28% 3 years according, according to Diversified Investment Advisors Inc., Purchase, N.Y.

The retirement plan investment advisory firm commissioned a survey of 279 retirement benefits administrators at U.S. employers with 1,000 or more employees.

About two-thirds of the employers surveyed are using automatic enrollment to increase participation rates. Plans with automatic enrollment are also more likely to be using features such as investment advice and automatic deferral increases, Diversified says.

About 55% of the plans now offer target-date funds, up from 37% in 2007, and 29% of the plan sponsors say they will add target-date funds in the next 24 months.

About 40% of plan sponsors disclose total fees; 59% disclose investment management fees; 58% disclose general administrative fees; and 47% disclose individual service fees.