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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

401k Balances Pick Up

News summary by MFWire's editors

Those mutual fund firms with a piece of the 401(k) business saw a boost in the first quarter. The Associated Press picks up on Fidelity numbers that show that the average 401(k) balance grew by 8 percent in the first three months of the year to $74,600. That is up from $69,100 at the end of 2011.

The Fidelity report is based on its own business that covers administration for nearly 12 million 401(k) plan participants. That sample is not necessarily representative of the rest of the industry.

Fidelity executives explained that the stock market rally in the first quarter accounted for about 80 percent of the gain in accounts. The 13 percent gain in stocks was the best since 1998.

Participant deferrals and plan sponsor matches account for the rest of the increase in the average account.

The average 12-month deferral was $5,810 and the average employer match was $3,360. Beth McHugh, vice president of market insights at Boston-based Fidelity, told the news service that deferrals are starting to increase slightly from the 8 percent level they have held at for the past few years.

About 10 percent of participants in Fidelity administered plans increased their deferral in the first quarter. About 4 percent decreased it. 

Edited by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

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