ICI: U.S. retirement assets hit $17.9 trillion

Total U.S. retirement assets reached $17.9 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, up 4.9% from the third quarter, according to the Investment Company Institute.

That year-end total was less than 1% higher than the $17.8 trillion at year-end 2010, according to an ICI report issued Monday.

All employer-based defined contribution retirement plans had $4.53 trillion in assets in the fourth quarter, up 4.7% from the third quarter of 2011.

Among those plans, 401(k) plans accounted for $3.07 trillion in the fourth quarter, up 5.1% from the third quarter.

The ICI report also said:

  • Individual retirement account assets reached $4.87 trillion in the fourth quarter, up 4.5% from the third quarter of 2011.
  • Government pension plans — including federal, state and local plans — held $4.48 trillion in assets in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 6.7% from the third quarter.
  • Private-sector defined benefit plans reported $2.37 trillion in assets in the fourth quarter, up 4.4% from the third quarter.
  • Annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts totaled $1.64 trillion, up 3% from the third quarter.