Participants in defined contribution plans administered by Mercer requested 59% more withdrawals in both November and December compared to a year earlier, according to Mercer analysis.
Also, the number of participants who stopped contributing to their plans rose from July to December. Overall, Mercer data showed more participants decreased than increased their contribution rates in 2008.
While 28% of 401(k) plan participants have seen their account balances decrease by 30% in 2008, Mercers data showed 14% of these participants have shifted assets dramatically from equity markets into capital preservation funds. Balances and plan contributions in stable value and money market funds rose 70% in 2008, while equity funds have decreased by the same percentage.
The study was based on actions of 1.2 million DC participants.