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Rating:For Some Workers, Auto Enrollment Comes at a Tumultuous Time Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, March 02, 2009

For Some Workers, Auto Enrollment Comes at a Tumultuous Time

by: Armie Margaret Lee

In Monday's Wall Street Journal Fund Track, Daisy Maxey notes that many companies have adopted 401(k) auto enrollment for their workers by 2008, which means, of course, that some employees were automatically enlisted just in time for the market turmoil.

Maxey points to data from Cerulli Associates, which found that more than 40 percent of defined contribution plans and nearly half of smaller plans have implemented auto enrollment in 2008. Some 53 percent of plans used target-date funds as the default option last year.

She also cites numbers from Fidelity, which witnessed 16 percent of its DC plans adopt auto enrollment by the end of 2008, as well as findings from a Hewitt Associates survey, which showed that 51 percent of mid-to large-sized employers currently offer automatic enrollment.

Automatic enrollment "really got a lot of traction in 2006 with the PPA and throughout later 2006 and 2007, then, obviously, 2008 happened," Scott Pritchard, managing director at Atlanta-based Capital Directions, tells Maxey.

Pritchard says, however, that he has yet to see automatically enrolled participants opting out.

"I don't think anybody is saying at this point, 'I'm thrilled to be automatically enrolled.' But I haven't heard anybody say, 'Why was I put in it? I didn't want to do that.' " 

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