Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: March 2019 Observations

April 8, 2019

See-sawing stock prices prompted 401(k) investors to move to fixed income funds in March, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index. There were three trading days of above-normal1 trading activity in March. Among the 21 trading days in March, 20 days saw the net trading activity moving from equities to fixed income funds.

March observations:

  • On average, 0.014% of 401(k) balances were traded daily

The Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ statistics for the month of March 2019:

Index statistics March 2019 YTD
Total transfers as percentage of starting balance 0.18% 0.50%
# Fixed days 20 (95%) 54 (89%)
# Equity days 1 (5%) 7 (11%)
# Above-normal days 3 9

 

Inflows and outflows during the month:

  • Trading inflows mainly went to bond, stable value, and money market funds
  • Outflows were primarily from large U.S. equity funds, company stock, and small U.S. equity funds
Asset classes with most trading inflows in March Percentage of inflows Index dollar value
($ mil)
Bond funds 61% $226
Stable value funds 26% $96
Money market funds 6% $24

 

Asset classes with most trading outflows in March Percentage of outflows Index dollar value
($ mil)
Large U.S. equity funds 37% $137
Company stock 22% $82
Small U.S. equity funds 15% $54

 

March investment portfolios:

  • After reflecting market movements and trading activity, average asset allocation in equities remained unchanged at 67.9% in March
  • New contributions in equities remained increased to 68.3% at the end of March from 67.7% at the end of February
Asset classes with largest percentage of total balance at end of March Percentage of balance Index dollar value
($ mil)
Target date2 funds 29% $55,930
Large U.S. equity funds 25% $48,159
Stable value funds 10% $19,426

 

Asset classes with most contributions in March Percentage of contribution Index dollar value
($ mil)
Target date funds 42% $835
Large U.S. equity funds 21% $416
International funds 8% $159

March market observations:

The capital markets delivered mixed performance during the month of March. The U.S. bond market (represented by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index) gained 1.9%. Large U.S. equities (represented by the S&P 500 Index) rose 1.9% and international equities (represented by the MSCIACWI ex-US Index) gained 0.6%. Small U.S. equities (represented by the Russell 2000 Index) fell -2.1%.

Returns for common indices March 2019 YTD
Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index 1.9% 2.9%
S&P 500 Index 1.9% 13.7%
Russell 2000 Index -2.1% 14.6%
MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index (net) 0.6% 10.3%

 

Members of the media: please contact Dominic Belmonte for questions about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™.

Learn more about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ here.

  1. A “normal” level of relative transfer activity is when the net daily movement of participants’ balances as a percent of total 401(k) balances within the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ equals between 0.3 times and 1.5 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months. A “high” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement exceeds two times the average daily net activity. A “moderate” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement is between 1.5 and two times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months.

  2. Target date funds also include the amounts in target risk funds. The amount in the target risk funds is less than 10% of the total.

 

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