Deloitte Releases Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey

Big Four firm Deloitte & Touche has released its 2002 Annual 401(k) Benchmarking Survey which provides insight into trends in 401(k) plan management across industry lines. For the survey, 823 companies responded to a questionnaire. The average company size in the survey is estimated to have between 5,000 and 6,000 employees. All regions of the country and industry groups were represented in the survey, with a heavy participation from manufacturing, which provided nearly 1/3 of the responses.

Overall, survey results show that 93% of human resources and employee benefits executives responding to the survey expressed satisfaction with the investment options offered by their company plans. Most sponsors indicated that changes in investment strategies are on hold while waiting for economic conditions to stabilize.

In spite of the notoriety surrounding the losses suffered by Enron employees who had much of their retirement investments locked into company stock, fewer than 6% of survey respondents indicated they had plans to change current restrictions on company stock investments. Twenty-four percent of respondents indicated that company stock is a core investment option in their 401(k) plans with an average of 20% of total plan assets invested in employer stock funds.

Nearly 75% of respondents said communication is a top priority and that their company offers customized communications programs, many of which are online. "We are seeing a decrease in the traditional communication methods - printed materials and face-to-face employer meetings - coupled with an increase in the use of the Internet and modeling tools," said Leslie V. Smith, D&T Survey Director and Director of the firm's Employee Benefits Group. "In other words, a clear trend towards the high-tech approach."

Over 85% of responding companies indicate they provide a matching contribution for employees participating in 401(k) plans.

For more information, contact Ruth Krumbhaar, D&T Human Capital National Marketing Manager via e-mail or telephone at 415-783-4360.

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