BofA Merrill Lynch Finds Participants Continue to Make Positive Savings Steps

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Quarterly Scorecard on activity within its proprietary 401(k) business finds positive savings actions by 401(k) participants continuing to trend higher.

According to the report, year-to-date 233,122 employees took a positive savings action in their 401(k) plan accounts compared to 226,372 during the same six-month period in 2009. Of all participants who have taken some type of savings action year-to-date, 67% took a positive action (started or increased saving), versus 33% who took a negative action (stopped or decreased saving).   

The number of existing plan participants who increased their contribution rate in Q2 2010 was 10% higher than the number of plan participants who increased their rate in Q2 2009. The number of participants who stopped contributing to their plans in Q2 2010 was 11% lower than Q2 2009. The number of participants who decreased their contribution in Q2 2010 was 6% lower than Q2 2009.   

In addition, the report said plan participant use of 401(k) advice services continues to climb year-over-year. Year to date there has been a 35% increase in participants accessing advice through the firm’s Advice Access service, and 32% increase in participants receiving specific advice within their 401(k) accounts.   

The firm also reported more plan sponsors are adopting features to help participants with their retirement savings. Since June of last year, there has been a 10% increase in the use of Auto Enrollment feature, and a 17% increase in the use of Auto Increase.   

There has been an 18% increase in plan usage of Advice Access since June 2009, with nearly 350 plan sponsors now live with this service.  

Bank of America Merrill Lynch services more than $82.2 billion in total plan assets, among approximately 1,500 plans and nearly 1.4 million actively contributing plan participants.