Investors get more aggressive in their retirement accounts


Americans are increasingly using aggressively managed mutual funds in their retirement-plan accounts.

"There's been a real shift away from conservatively managed accounts to equity over the past five years, and it's really accelerated with the bull market," said Marty Beaulieu, senior vice president of MFS Fund Distributor Inc., a subsidiary of MFS Investment Management.

Almost 60 percent of all contributions into 401(k) plans are going to equity funds, up from 45 percent in 1990, Beaulieu said.

T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. said one of its most popular funds among retirement plan investors is Mid-Cap Growth, which invests in medium-size companies where earnings are increasing at above-average rates.

Mutual fund companies are attracting more than a third of the assets that are rolling into 401(k) retirement plans each month , according to Access Research Inc., a Windsor, Conn.- based firm that tracks benefit programs.

About 33 percent of the estimated $675 billion in 401(k) plan assets were managed by fund groups in 1995 and that percentage rose last year, according to Access Research.

Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group, the two biggest U.S. fund companies, have been the most successful in attracting money from retirement plans, Access Research reported. The other leaders are T. Rowe Price, Putnam Investments and Merrill Lynch & Co.

Baltimore-based Price said about one-third of its monthly net inflows come from 401(k) retirement participants.

The company said its Equity Income, Balanced, Mid-Cap Growth and International Stock funds are attracting the highest cash flows from retirement plans.

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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