Amid an uptick in the stock market, 2003 was also a year in which 401(k) plan participation increased slightly, a recent survey finds.

The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America’s annual survey showed that 82.2% of eligible employees had money in 401(k) plans in 2003, up slightly from 80.3% last year. The average company contribution rose slightly as well, from 4.1% to 4.3%.

The number of investment options offered by 401(k)s rose sharply, with 87.3% of plans offering 10 or more fund options in 2003, up from 80.8% in 2002. An average of 16 funds were available for company contributions and 17 funds for participant contributions, up from 14 and 15 in 2002.

PSCA President David Wray told The Wall Street Journal that those numbers could be ceilings, though. "We’ve pretty much hit the maximum," Wray said. "I expect that next year, we’re going to see a leveling off or even a drop."

The PSCA’s annual survey measures several aspects of retirement plans, including the percentage of plans that offer investment advice (54.1% in 2003), the percentage that offer automatic enrollment (8.4%) and the percentage that offer automated systems for transactions (92.6%).

The 2003 survey polled 1,161 profit -haring and 401(k) plans, holding a combined $412 billion in assets and 3.4 million participants.

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