Updated with correction
Responsible investing can have a powerful draw for 401(k) and other defined contribution participants and can help plan sponsors drive more participation and contributions, according to results of a wide-ranging new survey by Calvert Investments Inc.
But the survey found much confusion among participants about the meaning of responsible investment, even though 87% of responding participants and 86% of responding eligible non-participants want investments aligned with their values.
Some 37% of responding participants and 36% of responding eligible non-participants said they would contribute more to their workplace retirement plan if offered responsible investment mutual fund choices, while 36% responding participants and 33% of responding eligible non-participants said the availability of responsible investment fund choices would not affect their view of the retirement plan.
Of responding eligible non-participants, 15% would be much more likely to participate in a workplace plan if responsible investment fund choices were available and 41% would be somewhat more likely, while 1% each would be somewhat less likely and much less likely. For the remaining 42% of responding eligible non-participants, the availability of responsible investment fund choices would have no impact on their decision whether to participate in a workplace plan.
Responsible investment generated a great deal of enthusiasm among respondents.
If a plan offered responsible investment fund options in all asset classes, 32% of all respondents would direct all plan contributions into the responsible investment mutual funds, 53% would direct a portion and 15% are unsure.
Calvert's survey, conducted between July 29 and Aug. 10 by marketing research firm 8 Acre Perspective, received responses from 1,231 participants of defined contribution plans and 295 eligible non-participants. Some 80% of respondents participate or are eligible to participate in 401(k) plans, 14% in 403(b) plans and 6% in 457 plans, all across a diverse group of industries and pretty much evenly divided by region across the country. The total assets of plans of respondents weren't available.