The average 401(k) balance among participants in plans administered by Fidelity Investments reached $71,500 for the end of 2010, the highest total since Fidelity began keeping track in 2000, the company announced Wednesday.
The year-end balance reflects both market gains and participant contributions, Jennifer Engle, a Fidelity spokeswoman, said in an interview. The balance topped the previous high of $69,200 in 2007, she said.
The results are gleaned from data on nearly 17,000 corporate DC plans for which Fidelity is record keeper and the 11 million participants in those plans, according to a Fidelity news release.
The average participant deferral during the fourth quarter 2010 was 8.2% of salary, unchanged from the third quarter. The news release said the quarterly deferral percentage has remained the same for eight consecutive quarters, Fidelity said in the release.
Also, 6.1% of participants increased their total deferral while 3% decreased it during the fourth quarter. For each of the past seven quarters, the number of participants raising their deferral rates has exceeded the number of participants decreasing their deferral rates, the release said.
Also, 8% of sponsors with plans for which Fidelity is a record keeper reduced or eliminated corporate matches in 2008 and 2009. However, 55% of plans that reduced or cut the corporate matches have already reinstated or indicated they plan to reinstate this benefit within the next 12 months, the news release said.