Survey: 401(k) investment advice a growing priority

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Published: July 12,1999

Participants in 401(k) plans often wonder: “Will I have enough money when I retire?” Because the answer to that question depends in large part on how the investments in their retirement accounts perform, employees today look to their employers for investment advice and guidance.

Recent research by Merrill Lynch has found that almost 70% of employees say they would like advice about their 401(k) money from a financial advisor. Increasingly, companies are looking for the tools to meet their employees’ needs for advice and guidance.

In a study commissioned by Merrill Lynch and conducted by International Communications Research (ICR) in April, 99% of companies surveyed that offer advice and guidance for 401(k) participants consider their programs successful — with more than half saying their programs were extremely successful.

Intranet and Internet access is fast becoming a preferred way to communicate benefit information to employees. In the ICR survey, 30% of companies said they offered online access, a number that has doubled since last year.

The enhancement of online access with advice and guidance services might convince more employers to use technology to help their employees make investment decisions. In the survey, 17% of the employers who did not currently offer Internet access to retirement benefits said they would be more likely to do so if that access included the ability to offer advice and guidance over the Internet.

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