DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. has begun offering Fidelity PortfolioPlanner, Fidelity Investments' Internet-based retirement planning tool, to its 145,000 plan participants, said Jim Fish, executive director of Ford's human resources customer operations.
Fidelity has provided investment options, education and administration for Ford's salaried and union 401(k) funds for about seven years, Mr. Fish said.
Ford's 401(k) plans have about $12.1 billion in assets and include more than 55 funds and a Ford common stock investment option. PortfolioPlanner provides 401(k) plan participants with model portfolios customized to the options in Ford's plan, information on how much they need to save for retirement and asset allocation.
"If employees are more knowledgeable, they are better off and we are better off as well," Mr. Fish said.
"Fidelity is well respected, was already selected for the plans, has name recognition and synergy. The investment advice is not restricted to Fidelity offerings," he added.
Although both union and non-union 401(k) plan participants will have access to Fidelity PortfolioPlanner, the two groups will access it in a different way, Mr. Fish said. Union plan participants can access the service from home only "to the extent they have a PC and have the right browser and operating system," he said. Salaried employees can access PortfolioPlanner at home or at work, Mr. Fish added.
Employees move; assets stay put
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. -- A third of people who changed jobs within the past three years left their 401(k) savings in their previous employer's plan, according to a new report by Richard Day Research for Fidelity Investments.
The survey of 1,100 people revealed 22% chose a cash distribution; 29% rolled over the money to an individual retirement account; and 11% rolled the funds into their new employers' plans.
There also was a difference in people who changed jobs within the past three years and those who are about to change jobs: The latter were less aware of what could be done with their 401(k) savings. About 29% of people about to change jobs knew they could leave the funds in their current employer's 401(k) plan; 29% were aware they could put the money in their new employer's plan; 41% knew about rollover IRAs; and 42% were aware they could take a cash distribution.
Close to 77% of employees who changed jobs within the past three years knew they could leave funds in their old employer's 401(k) plan; 76% were aware they could put their money in their current employer's plan; 71% were aware of rollover IRAs; and 87% knew they could take their savings in cash.
However, of those who said they were familiar with rollover IRAs, only about a third could offer an accurate description of the process.
Norwest running tests on education software
MINNEAPOLIS -- Norwest Corp.has begun testing Wiesenberger's retirement planning and education software, Architec(k) in its new Internet program for 401(k) plan participants, according to Robert Bean, Norwest vice president.
Norwest has been rolling out Internet software since August for participants in 401(k) plans it administers, and it plans to integrate Wiesenberger's application, Mr. Bean said.
Although Wiesenberger offers Ibbotson Associates' investment advice through Architec(k), Norwest will not be using it yet. Norwest is gathering information about offering advice to 401(k) plan participants, Mr. Bean said.
"We won't pick the final vendor(s) until the later part of the summer," he said.
American Express adds transactions on Web
MINNEAPOLIS -- American Express Retirement Services has added transactional capabilities to its 401(k) Web site.
Participants now may change deferral percentages, move money among investment options and change fund allocations in the "My Account" section of the site, www.americanexpress.com/401k.
Automatic enrollment has interested audience
NEW YORK -- More than 25% of employers with 401(k) plans are considering automatic enrollment of new workers as a way of boosting participation, according to a new study by Buck Consultants.
Now, just 7% of employees participate in 401(k) plans. This level has remained stable for six years. About 60% of plan sponsors have seen higher worker contributions as a result of education programs, and 58% of employers with education initiatives reported plan participants were making less conservative investment decisions than before their investment education programs were initiated.