Investment transfer activity in 401(k) plans was high last week, according to Hewitt Associates, whose Hewitt 401(k) Index tracks transfer activity of employees in large plans. The Index tracks 1.5 million U.S. employees with $71 billion in assets.

Of the assets that are tracked, weekly net transfer activity last week was over $816 million or 1.15% of total assets, compared to normal transfer activity of 0.33%, according to Hewitt. On Monday, Sept. 17, transfer activity reached .058% or nine times the normal level. The Index returned to normal levels on Tuesday, however was ‘high’ on both Thursday and Friday.

While 401(k) transfer levels were higher than normal, it does not suggest a nationwide reaction, as the relative percentage was still low, according to Lori Lucas, a defined contribution consultant with Hewitt.

"It’s important to recognize that a movement of one percent of balances is not a huge shift in sentiment, by any means," said Lucas. "The vast majority of 401(k) participants stayed put last week."

Still, the money that was transferred was reactionary, with heavy movement into fixed income from equities, she said.

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