Fewer Plans, Greater Assets

LIMRA’s 401(k) Scorecard for Q4 2010 shows sales had both positive and negative results.

The 14 companies reporting to LIMRA sold fewer plans (-6%) and participants (-8%) than in fourth quarter 2009, but the assets in those plans were up by almost 23%. On a year-to-date basis, the 14 companies sold more plans, but those plans had fewer participants and lower assets than in 2009 by 19% and almost 4%, respectively.  

The number of plans sold increased from the third quarter of 2010 (17%). Participant levels indicate that the plans being sold are smaller this quarter than last quarter with an average of 61 participants per plan compared with 74 per plan in the third quarter of 2010. There were 62 participants per plan in the fourth quarter of 2009.   

The 16 companies that participated in the fourth quarter 401(k) Scorecard survey sold a total of 4,752 plans with almost 272,000 participants and $11.3 billion in assets. The top five companies are responsible for 69% of assets during the fourth quarter, down from last quarter’s 78%, according to the LIMRA data. The top three companies hold 53% of the assets, close to last quarter’s 56%; sales are concentrated among fewer companies than in the past, consistent with the last several quarters.  

Continuing the trend since the third quarter of 2008, the percentage of new plans remains lower than the percentage of plans taken over from other providers; however, the proportion of new plans as a percent of the total plans has increased from 23% to 30%. The proportion of participants that represent start-up plans has not changed since the third quarter 2010, and the proportion of assets has decreased to 1%.