More than three-fourths of participants in 401(k) plans administered by Bank of America Merrill Lynch started or increased contributions at about the same rate last year as in 2010, the company announced Monday.
Seventy-six percent of participants took positive action on contributions in 2011, while 24% took negative action — stopped or decreased contributions — last year, confirmed Matthew Card, a company spokesman.
In 2010, 77% took positive action and 23% took negative action, Mr. Card said in an e-mail.
“The slight decline may be a sign of positive saturation in our plans, meaning participants who increased their savings in 2010 did not need to do so again the following year,” Kevin Crain, head of institutional retirement and benefit services for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in an e-mail. “Overall, the numbers still point to large and consistent participation and very positive savings actions.”
In the fourth quarter, the percentage of participants taking positive action was 81% compared to 84% during the fourth quarter of 2010, the news release said.
The fourth quarter traditionally has the highest percentage of positive actions “largely due to integration with the annual health enrollment” among sponsors, the news release said.
“Our data show major lifts in both areas occur annually from October through December, the health-care open enrollment period for most employers,” the news release said.
The quarterly analysis by Bank of America Merrill Lynch is based on records of nearly 2.6 million participants in plans with aggregate assets of $92.4 billion.