Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Joint ICI/SIFMA Survey Finds Ownership Driven by Growth of DC Savings Plans

From Press Release

Washington, DC, December 15, 2008—Nearly half of U.S. households owns equities or bonds, a significant increase during the last two decades. But ownership of these investment assets has declined since 2001, as increasing market volatility has reduced Americans’ tolerance for risk, according to a new joint study released today by the Investment Company Institute and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Based on a survey of more than 5,000 households, researchers at ICI and SIFMA calculate that 54.5 million households participated in the market through equity or bond ownership in early 2008. This represents 47 percent of U.S. households—up from 39 percent in 1989, the first year for which directly comparable survey data are available.

The two-decade rise in equity and bond investment was fueled by the rapid growth of defined contribution (DC) retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, the researchers conclude. Between 1989 and 2004—the latest year for which comparable
data are available—the number of participants in private-sector DC plans nearly doubled, from 36 million to 65 million. The ICI/SIFMA survey shows that at every income level, working-age households are much more likely to be equity or bond owners if their employer sponsors a DC plan.

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