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DEFINED CONTRIBUTION

Fidelity 401(k) client account average balances hit $80,900

Fidelity Branch

The average account balance for participants in 401(k) plans for which Fidelity Investments is the record keeper achieved a record high of $80,900 for the quarter ended March 31, confirmed Kirsten Plonner, a company spokeswoman.

The average account balance was 8.4% higher than the balance of $74,600 for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Ms. Plonner said in an interview.

Sixty-five percent of the average account balance increase for the 12 months ended March 31 was attributed to market gains, and the rest was due to employee and employer contributions, Ms. Plonner said.

The previous average record balance was $77,300 for the fourth quarter of 2012. However, when adjusting for inflation, the highest quarterly average balance was $83,578 for the quarter ended March 31, 2000.

The average annual total contribution rate for the 12 months ended March 31 was 12.2%, of which the average participant deferral rate was 8% of salary and the average annual employer contribution rate was 4.2%, she said.

Ms. Plonner said more participants increased deferrals than decreased deferrals — 9.5% vs. 3.7%, respectively — for the three months ended March 31. This was the 16th consecutive quarter in which increases exceeded decreases, she said.

The Fidelity analysis is based on data from 12.3 million participants in 20,600 plans for which Fidelity is record keeper.