401k Auto-Enrollment Statistics Reflect Success

401k Auto-Enrollment Statistics Reflect Success

401k auto-enrollment statistics tell a story. After a recent Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) Fiduciary Education Program at University of Memphis Mr. Fred Barstein, Founder and CEO of TPSU interviewed Mr. Walter Grant, Adjunct Lecturer of TPSU.  One of the topics discussed were the positive results demonstrated in 401k auto-enrollment statistics.

During the interview, Mr. Grant provides a firsthand account of the improved participation rates achieved by a metal-stamping company with 450 participants.  In this case, strong communication took the plan from 30% participation to 57%.  Then implementing auto-enrollment took the participation rate from 57% to 94.3% – and holding.  These are 401k auto-enrollment statistics of which both, the plan sponsor and the retirement plan advisor can be proud!

Full Transcript Here

Fred Barstein here, at the University of Memphis. Just completed a TPSU program. We’re catching our very busy adjunct lecturer and advisor, Walter Grant. He’s been with us for a couple of years, with Ageis Retirement.

That’s correct.

One of the elite retirement groups in the country, based here in the South. We just had a great program. Walt’s really passionate about behavioral finance, and participant education and engagement, great advisor. But, wanted to talk about what he’s seeing in the market, as we’re seeing plans sponsors sort of wake up to this, and adopt this auto plan, auto enrollment. What are you seeing in the market?

Well, absolutely, I think it’s taken a lot of time for plan sponsors to digest what we’ve been telling them, over the course of the year. They’ve warmed up to it. We had a case, recently, back at the end of 2016, was about a 450 person group, steel stamping business, and they actually weren’t having any communication with the employees whatsoever. But, the owner really want to, very parental, really want to help every participant. They had a Safe Harbor match on a 450 man group. I’ve never seen that before, first of all.

Right. Right. Wow.

He wanted his employees to benefit from the plan. Day one, the record keeper wasn’t doing their job. Secondly, there was a 30% participation rate. We step in, first meeting, just to talk to them about auto enroll. They’ve already, by the way-


… at this point, they said they were gonna do it. We step in, and were promoting the auto enrollment feature to it … went up from 30 to 57%. Just moved the needle just by letting people know, and communicating. Auto enrollment stuck at 94.3, I think-


… was the actual final percentage. It’s still sticking today.

Probably there was like a buzz in the whole company about that, right?

Oh, there was. I mean, the fact that people … in fact, most people that were talking to my team and myself, were very thankful, because they meant to do something. They meant to get into the plan. They wanted to. They either missed the timing. They missed the opportunity ’cause they got busy.

Right. Right.

They didn’t fill out the forms. They never talked to them. They never saw anybody.

It’s probably a great recruiting and retention tool for that company, right?

Oh, absolutely. In fact, they just merged with another company. We’re getting ready to do the same thing with that.


They can have a worse participation rate. I think it’s like 25%, currently.


The owner’s very excited about doing it. He loves saying the participants benefit from it. In fact, he loved helping them out so much, he gives them an extraordinary $250 care, each one, as a profit sharing component, just for being a part of the plan. He wanted to entice them to get on.

Right. We’re starting to see companies really wake up and pay more attention. Why do you think that is?

I just, I think, as I mentioned in the lecture, I think just companies are becoming more parental. They understand that they need their employees to be able to retire. I think it’s gonna help them benefit them on the workforce, meaning they’re gonna be more productive folks inside their job, when they feel like they’ve got a balance, that they’ll be able to retire.

I’m sure it’s this way, but unemployment rates are pretty low, right now.

Oh, absolutely.

Hiring people is hard.

Oh yeah.

This could be one of the things that tips the scale.

Absolutely. In this company, per se, I’ve never had a Safe Harbor do auto enroll they way that they’ve done it. He’s wanted to even change that formula again. I’m telling you, all the companies we meet with going forward, and existing plans, they’re warming up to it. There’s gonna be more and more of those going forward.

Right. Well, thanks for your support of TPSU. Great program, today.

Absolutely. It was fantastic.

Great. We’ll see you in February.

Absolutely. Thank you, Fred.

Very good. Thank you, Walter.

Thank you.


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