Total U.S. retirement assets dipped about 7.5% to $17 trillion in the third quarter, following a record high of $18.4 trillion in the previous quarter, according to the Investment Company Institute.
The institute attributed the decline partly to the drop in corporate equity values, but noted that retirement account balances fell less than the S&P 500 index's 13.9% drop in the third quarter.
“Diversification and net contributions muted the impact on these assets,” Sarah Holden, senior director of retirement and investor research, said in a telephone interview.
Among all retirement plan types, IRA assets had the biggest decline in the quarter, falling 8.5% to $4.6 trillion. Private-sector defined benefit plan assets fell 8.1% to $2.3 trillion, defined contribution plan assets fell 7.5% to $4.3 trillion, and public plan assets dropped 7.7% to $4.2 trillion in the same period.
The remaining $1.6 trillion is in annuity reserves.
Of all employer-based DC retirement plans, 401(k) plans accounted for $2.9 trillion as of Sept. 30, down 9.4% from the previous quarter.
Mutual funds managed 53% of DC plan assets last quarter.