Only six percent of 401(k) plan participants who switch jobs roll their money over to the incumbent 401(k) provider, according to a study. Thirty-seven percent of participants place their savings in an IRA, according to the study by Hewitt Associates, the management consulting firm in Lincolnshire, Ill. Hewitt's analysis of 193,000 defined contribution distributions nationwide in 1998 also showed that 57 percent of the investors chose to cash out of their plans.

In other words, when 401(k) investors switch jobs, mutual fund companies lose assets under management 94 percent of the time, the Hewitt data shows.

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