Participants at Non-Profits Seeking Portfolio Mix Guidance

The number of participants in Fidelity Investments’-administered plans at tax-exempt organizations who sought in-person or phone guidance rose 12% in the first five months of 2010 over last year.

A Fidelity news release said that of that group of participants in plans sponsored by employers in higher education, health care and other non-profit organizations, nearly 60% were looking for guidance on the right asset mix for their retirement account.

The announcement said that a similar trend in 403(b), 457 and 401(a) plans was seen with use of Fidelity’s online retirement planning tools such as Retirement Quick Check, Portfolio Review and Retirement Income Planner. Use of all three tools more than doubled in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the first quarter of 2009 with participants most frequently using Fidelity’s Portfolio Review.

“Since the 2008 market downturn, American workers have become much more engaged in retirement planning and are increasingly looking for guidance in navigating through these volatile markets,” said John Ragnoni, executive vice president, Tax Exempt, Fidelity Investments, in the news release. “Employees’ top questions continue to be around the best investment strategy, especially during this period of sustained market volatility. They want help understanding how to balance the natural impulse to invest more conservatively as markets fluctuate, while recognizing the long-term need to be positioned for potential growth in order to accumulate sufficient savings to cover a 20-30 year retirement period.”

Among the non-profit organization participants at Fidelity, roughly 45% hold assets that are age-based and appropriate for their risk tolerance, assuming a retirement age of 65, versus 36% of participants in corporate defined contribution plans.

In response to the growing need for guidance, Fidelity has increased the number of Workplace Planning and Guidance Consultants servicing not-for-profit employees by more than 40%, the company said in the announcement.