Participants Continued Moving Assets in December

Daily transfer volume was above average among defined contribution (DC) plan participants in December, according to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) Index.

Transfers averaged 0.027% of total balances daily—higher than the trailing 12-month average of 0.024%. December’s count of four days with transfer activity above normal was surpassed only by November during 2012. Total net transfer activity was high in December, totaling $426 million, or 0.32% of total participant balances. While not as high as November’s total, it shows participants continue to take more action than they did earlier in the year, Aon Hewitt said.  

Net daily transfers favored fixed-income funds for 85% of trading days in December. Transfers into fixed-income asset classes from equities totaled $370 million of total flows, or 0.27% of total assets. When company stock activity is excluded, equity outflows totaled $240 million (0.18%) of participant balances.   

Most equity-based asset classes had net outflows in December—similar to November. Leading the way, company stock funds lost $130 million (31%). U.S. funds together took the largest hit with large U.S. losing $124 million (29%), followed by small U.S. funds losing $73 million (17%) and mid U.S. funds losing $42 million (10%). Premixed funds also had $34 million (8%) of outflows.  

For net inflows in December, GIC/stable value funds gained the most with $251 million (59%) transferring in. In addition, bond funds received $75 million (18%), and money market funds took $63 million (15%) of the monthly inflows. International funds, the only asset class of equities with inflows, had $36 million (9%) of inflows.   

Employee discretionary contributions, another measure of participant sentiments, declined to 61.7% in equities for December from the November average of 62.3%. Despite the sizable transfers into fixed income, participants’ overall equity allocation moderately increased 0.2% to reach 59.4% by the end of December.   

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