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Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: Second Quarter 2020 observations

As the S&P 500 was posting its best quarterly performance since 1998, 401(k) investors were light traders according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™. There were only six days of above-normal1 trading activity—a sharp decline from the 29 above-normal days in the first quarter.  When investors made trades, they tended to move money from equities to fixed income.

Second quarter observations:

  • Net transfers for the quarter were 0.50% of balances
  • 39 out of 63 trading days in the second quarter had net trading dollars moving from equities to fixed income


Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ statistics for Q2 2020 and year-to-date:

Index Statistics Q2 2020 2020 YTD
Net transfers as percentage of starting balance 0.50% 1.96%
# Fixed days 39 (62%) 82 (66%)
# Equity days 24 (38%) 43 (34%)
# Above-normal days 6 35



Asset classes with most trading inflows in Q2 2020

  Percentage of inflows Index dollar value ($ mil)
Bond funds 51% $488
Money market funds 15% $146
Stable value funds 13% $127


Asset classes with most trading outflows in Q2 2020

  Percentage of outflows Index dollar value ($ mil)
Target date2 funds 37% $355
Large U.S. equity funds 37% $352
Company stock 17% $162


Second quarter market observations:

The second quarter provided a respite and recovery from the first quarter’s decline, with all indices gaining. Small U.S. equities (represented by the Russell 2000 Index) rose 25.4%, large U.S. equities (represented by the S&P 500) gained 20.5%, and international equities (represented by the MSCI All County World ex-U.S. Index) up 16.1%. Additionally, U.S. bonds (represented by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index) gained 2.9%.


Returns for common indicies Q2 2020 2020 YTD
Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index 2.9% 6.1%
S&P 500 Index 20.5% -3.1%
Russell 2000 Index 25.4% -13.0%
MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index (net) 16.1% -11.0%



Members of the media: please contact Landis Cullen for questions about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™.  Learn more about the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ here.

  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 Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ 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 two times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months
  2. Target date funds also include the amounts in target risk funds. The amount in the target risk funds is less than 10% of the total.

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