Seventy-two percent of participants started or increased their 401(k) plan contributions in the second quarter, up from 68% a year earlier, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report on its client data.
The increase is attributed to factors such as greater plan participation in auto enrollment and auto increase and usage of Advice Access, an investment advisory service for participants provided by Ibbotson Associates, said Kevin Crain, head of institutional client relationships at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
There was a 25% increase in usage of the Advice Access feature with 440 of the 1,300 plans represented in the report using the service. There was also a 22% increase in the use of auto increase and a 7% increase in the use of auto enrollment.
“It's all very easy utilization. It's not relying on the participants themselves to make all these decisions,” Mr. Crain said.
Twenty-eight percent of plan participants stopped or decreased contributions in the second quarter, down from 32% in the second quarter of 2010.
Of the approximately 1,300 plans represented in the report, more than 260 plans use auto enrollment, a 7% increase over the second quarter of 2010.
The 1,300 plans tracked in the report have a total of about $94.3 billion in assets.