Defined contribution plan sponsors offered professionally managed accounts at a sharply higher rate in 2003 than in 2002, up to 21.8% of all plans, compared with 13.6% the year before, according to the annual survey of the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America.
Other survey findings include:
• 54.1% of all 401(k)/profit-sharing plans offered investment advice in 2003, up from 51.9% in 2002 and 41.4% in 2001;
• 8.4% of the plans surveyed in 2003 featured automatic enrollment, up from 7.4% in 2002; and
• 87.3% of 401(k) sponsors offered 10 or more investment options in 2003, compared with 80.8% in 2002.
The number of sponsors offering professionally managed accounts (plans run entirely by money managers) in 2003 sounded too high to Don Bartolai, principal-retirement, with Mellon Human Resources & Investor Solutions, Chicago. "One in five plans offering it sounds high to me," he said. "That's definitely not the case for the large plan sponsors I work with."
Mr. Bartolai also thought that the number of plans offering advice seemed too high. "In the plan sponsor world I live in, that's not even close."