Individuals aren't as interested in Roth conversions as many advisers expected.

According to a Mercer survey, more than half of employers said that their employees hadn't asked for the option, and 45% said they had no plans to offer it.

Highly paid employees were expected to push hard to ask employers to create an option to convert 401(k) balances to Roth plans.

A conversion would allow them to pay off taxes on their retirement plan balances during their working years. If tax rates rise, as many expect, this would be a savvy move.

About a third of employers said they would offer the option by the end of next year and another quarter plan to add it at some point.

"We expect interest to increase over time," said Amy Reynolds, a partner in Mercer's retirement, risk and finance business.

The new option was created by the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, which was signed into law Sept 27. Employers have until Dec. 15 to request a change that would allow employees to take advantage of special benefits for conversions made in 2010.

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