401(k) Providers

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A triple threat to the once-vaunted 401(k) program is in play: the value of the retirement funds has crashed along with the stock market; employees are moving a lot of what remains to fixed-income investment vehicles; and a fast-rising number of companies are dumping the employer-match feature. Faced with these pressures, many aging workers are delaying retirement. But the altered environment may create plenty of pressure for employers as well, in the form of new regulations, lawsuits alleging breach of fiduciary duty in managing the programs, and the prospect of a work force growing older than even extreme-case scenarios had supposed.

At the same time, even target-date funds, historically considered to be the simplest investment option and one designed to automatically invest more conservatively as an employee nears retirement age, has gone topsy-turvy. The average fund for people due to retire in 2010 lost 23% of its value in 2008, but the range was from 4% to 41%, raising the bar when it comes to comparing and benchmarking target-date funds.

To enhance finance executives' understanding of the 401(k) playing field, CFO, with the help of Dalbar Inc., surveyed major providers about various aspects of their programs. To see the survey results, go to the box in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.


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