Retirement Plan Assets Reach $21.5 Trillion

Assets held in employer-sponsored retirement plans increased 11.5% to reach $11.3 trillion at the close of 2014, according to Spectrem's 2015 Market Insights Report.

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) maintain an additional $5.4 trillion of savings, Spectrem says. According to the report, total retirement assets across public plans, private plans and IRAs stand around $21.5 trillion.

Other findings reveal more than $3.5 trillion in defined benefit (DB) accounts is held by public sector workers, along with $458 billion in defined contribution (DC) accounts and $241 billion in 457 plans. Further, in the last five years the DB amount has grown by nearly $1 trillion, while both the DC and 457 plans have grown by more than $100 billion.

The report reveals a near complete recovery of public sector DB plan assets from the losses suffered in the financial crisis of 2008. Additionally, DC plans, including the 457 plans which are employee funded, have grown beyond pre-recession amounts.

Conversely, private sector DB assets have been slow to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, recording $2.6 trillion in net assets in 2014. At $8.53 trillion, DB plans account for two-thirds of the total amount of corporate sector retirement assets. Almost three-quarters of union retirement dollars, or $458 billion, is held in DB plans.

Spectrem’s research shows over 80% of IRA assets are held in either mutual fund or self-directed accounts, which maintain $3.47 trillion and $3.14 trillion, respectively. Driven primarily by rollovers from qualified plans, IRA assets have grown at an average annual rate of 2.5% over the past five years.

The Spectrum 2015 Market Insights Report is available for purchase here.