A new study from Cerulli Associates finds the size of the country’s retirement pool of assets eligible to be rolled over is $248 billion, or 25% of the total pool eligible for distribution.

Only $67 billion of that figure is available to advisors, providers, and asset managers seeking to establish new client relationships, according to the report.

"The bulk of rollover dollars, $181 billion, flows to previously established financial relationships or accounts, thus making it very challenging to capture. In addition, only a portion of the money eligible for rollover is actually moved each year. The majority of assets eligible for distribution actually remain in the plan,” the report notes.

One trend observed during the last 10 years is that participants are increasingly leaving their assets with their 401(k) plan instead of completing rollovers. For providers seeking to target the rollover market, the dynamics of investor choice play a large part in how they should address the rollover opportunity.

Cerulli's analysis also shows that close to half of those younger than 60 years of age have not considered how they will manage or locate their accounts in retirement. In contrast, 80% of investors between the ages of 60 and 64 have arrived at a decision about their retirement assets. These findings (and more) emphasize the fact that investors tend to deal with retirement decisions when they reach retirement, and do very little planning during the accumulation years.

The figures cited by Cerulli are down significantly from the $303 billion rollover figure cited by Pershing LLC.in December.