The Magnitude of the Missing Participant Problem

A March 2018 survey by Boston Research Technologies revealed that 11.3% of separated, defined contribution account records have a stale address. Based on the number of separated participants in defined contribution plans, this suggests that there are, at minimum, approximately 3 million missing participant accounts. This number continues to grow as participants change jobs and relocate, leaving their retirement savings behind.

Other key findings from the Missing Participant Survey:
  • 1 of 5: Re-locations will result in a missing participant
  • One-third: Participants learn of a retirement account with a previous employer they did not realize they had
  • 60%: Participants who prefer an automated process to update address or consolidate accounts
  • 23%: Would utilize a lost & found database to locate a stranded account
  • 9%: Participants who would not verify their address if asked by a former employer

NEXT TOPIC: What Regulations Apply to Missing Participants?

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