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Fidelity® Survey Finds More Stock Plan Assets Earmarked for Investment or Retirement Savings
Stock Plan Participants Report Saving 18 Percent of Household Income on AverageBOSTON – Fidelity Investments® today released a survey that marks a shift in how stock plan participants plan to utilize their company stock plan assets in the future. The study1 found that the majority of company stock plan assets (57 percent) are being earmarked for eventual investment or retirement savings after participants sell them while just 13 percent of the assets are being targeted to pay off bills or debt in the future.
In years past, the largest allotment of assets was directed toward paying off bills and debt (32 percent). Just one quarter of the assets were targeted previously for future investment or retirement savings, the study found.
The survey, which is a follow up to a study done last year among similar participants, included 1,820 stock plan participants from 107 companies. It found that participants in stock option, stock purchase and restricted stock plans tend to be aggressive savers. On average, these participants report they are saving 18 percent of their annual household income. The savings are divided as follows:
• 51 percent into a 401(k) type plan
• 17 percent into personal savings
• 14 percent into company stock plans
• 8 percent into brokerage accounts
• 8 percent into IRA accounts
• 2 percent into other vehicles
“Our study illustrates that more participants are now in a healthier financial position to focus on saving rather than debt relief,” said Kevin Barry, executive vice president of Fidelity’s Stock Plan Services business. “On average stock plan participants have a very strong savings rate and are using their company stock as an important building block for their retirement portfolio.”
More Restricted Stock and Stock Option Plan Participants Engaged With Their Plans
According to the study, more participants in restricted stock and stock option plans report they are aware of the value of the grants they hold (82 percent this year, up 15 points from last year) and the value of their current stock options (86 percent compared to 79 percent in 2011). More restricted stock and stock option plan participants know their vesting schedules (88 percent, up 10 points from last year).
Six out of ten participants in all plan types said they plan to leave their assets in their company stock plan once they are fully vested.
About one in five (19 percent) said that because of the economic downturn and market volatility, their stock plan assets are more important to their overall financial plans than they were before the downturn.
Education Still Needed Since Many Report Weak Overall Investment Knowledge
Despite increased engagement, many participants still admit to poor investment knowledge. Almost half (46 percent) ranked their general investment knowledge as a 5 or less on a scale of 0 to 10. More than seven in ten (71 percent) said they cannot fully explain their company stock plan to others.
To help workers understand and maximize the benefits of a stock plan, Fidelity offers a range of resources. They include:
• Fidelity Stock Plan Investment Analysis: Phone representatives analyze an individual’s stock plan grants, assign a value to their options and recommend trading strategies
• Customized webinars: Webinars, available through each record kept employer’s NetBenefits site, explain how that company’s stock plan works
• Online guidance and planning tools at Fidelity.com: Using Portfolio Review at Fidelity.com, individuals can receive assistance in creating an investment strategy
• Employees who have a stock plan administratively serviced by Fidelity also can go to their NetBenefits® website to access information. Seminars are also available at Fidelity investor centers nationwide and on-site at various employers’ workplaces
Fidelity is a leading provider of stock plan administration services in the United States. It services 250 employers nationwide, representing $125 billion in grant value.2
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.7 trillion, including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of August 31, 2012. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
1) Study conducted by Richard Day Research/Market Probe of Chicago online between Jan. 31 and Feb. 21, 2012. Participants were from three plan types: restricted stock, stock option plans and employee stock purchase plans.