Human Resources
401(k) Index &  Observations Monthly Details: May 2015

401(k) Index & Observations Monthly Details: May 2015

Market Commentary

  • According to the Aon Hewitt 401(k) IndexTM, trading activity picked up in May with eight days of above-normal1 trading activity—the highest monthly total in two years. On average, 0.031% of balances transferred each day, making May the first month with transfers above 0.03% since October, 2013.
  • When participants made trades they preferred fixed income over equities, with 61% of trading days favoring fixed income. The most popular asset classes for inflows were international, money market, and GIC/stable value funds. The most common classes for outflows were large U.S. equity, company stock, and small U.S. equity funds. Target-date funds2 continued to receive the majority of new contributions into individuals’ accounts.

Asset Classes with Most Trading Inflows

Percent of Inflows Index Dollar Value ($ mil)
International funds 45% $153
Money market funds 26% $89
GIC/stable value funds 24% $82


Asset Classes with Most Trading Outflows

Percent of Outflows Index Dollar Value ($ mil)
Large U.S. equity funds 31% $107
Company stock 25% $86
Small U.S. equity funds 14% $48


Asset Classes with Most Contributions

Percent of Contributions Index Dollar Value ($ mil)
Target-date funds 40% $240
Large U.S. equity funds 19% $116


  • When combining contributions, trades, and market activity, participants’ overall allocation to equities inched upward from 66.4% to 66.7% in May. Future contributions to equities decreased slightly from 67.2% in April to 67.0% at the end of May.
  • Capital market returns were mixed during May 2015:
    • U.S. Large-Cap equities (represented by the S&P 500 Index) and U.S. Small-Cap equities (represented by the Russell 2000 Index) delivered positive returns.
    • International equities (represented by the MSCI ACWI ex-US Index) and U.S. Fixed Income (represented by the Barclays Aggregate Index) fell.

The following tables show Aon Hewitt 401(k) IndexTM statistics and the returns of major market indices for periods ending May 29, 2015.


Index Statistics

May 2015 YTD
Total Transfers as Percent of Starting Balance 0.20% 0.58%
# Fixed Days: 11 (61%) 50 (51%)
# Equity Days: 7 (39%) 48 (49%)
# Above Normal1 Days: 8 23


Indices Returns

May 2015 YTD
Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index -0.2% -0.1%
S&P 500 Index 1.3% 0.6%
Russell 2000 Index 2.3% 1.4%
MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index (net) -1.6% 1.7%

1 A “normal” level of relative transfer activity is when the net daily movement of participants’ balances, as a percent of total 401(k) balances within the Aon Hewitt 401(k) IndexTM equals between 0.3 times and 1.5 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months. A “high” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement exceeds two times the average daily net activity. A “moderate” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement is between 1.5 and 2 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months.
2 Target-date funds also include the amounts in target-risk funds for companies who do not have target-date funds. The amount in the target-risk funds is less than 10% of the total.