Following stay-at-home rules and social distancing guidelines, 98% of the record-keeping industry is now working from home, up from 20% in January, according to a survey released Tuesday from the SPARK Institute and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association.
"The shift to work-from-home has gone very smoothly because our industry has been by and large having certain employees work from home for well over a decade," said Tim Rouse, executive director of the SPARK Institute.
To address the increase in employees working remotely, record keepers have responded with an increased focus on cybersecurity, supplying employees with necessary technology and online team calls, according to the survey, which was conducted last week and garnered responses from 21 firms on questions related to the COVID-19 crisis and implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act.
More than 80% of the record keepers surveyed have already updated their systems and procedures to accommodate the CARES Act and another 9% should be updated within a week, the survey found. Notably, one of the CARES Act's provisions permits 401(k) plan participants to withdraw up to $100,000 from their accounts. To facilitate that type of request, record keepers have to update their systems, Mr. Rouse said.
Most participants are not shifting their investments but are looking for loans or hardship withdrawals, the survey said. The groups did not share a specific figure.