The mutual fund industry has boasted that even in 2002, with the S&P 500 down more than 22%, it took in a net $75 billion. But $64 billion, or 85% of that money, came from passive, automatic 401(k) contributions not investors actively seeking out funds in nonretirement accounts, The Wall Street Journal reports. In fact, stock funds in nonretirement accounts lost a net $54 billion last year, according to the Journal. And the trend is continuing this year.
The figure is particularly significant because 401(k) flows have amounted to no more than 20% of all fund flows in recent years, data from the Investment Company Institute shows.