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Alight Solutions 401(k) Index: First Quarter 2022 Observations

With volatility returning to Wall Street, 401(k) investors were busy traders in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) IndexTM. There were 16 above-normal trading days in the quarter—a stark contrast to the 3 above-normal days seen in 2021. Net transfers as a percentage of starting balances were 0.46%, nearly equal to the percentage seen in the prior twelve months (0.53%). Net trading activity significantly favored fixed income.

First quarter observations:

  • 42 out of 62 trading days in the first quarter had net trading dollars moving from equities to fixed income.
  • The highest trading days generally occurred on days when stocks fell.

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index statistics for Q1 2022 and year-to-date:

Index statistics

Q1 2022

2022 YTD

Total transfers as percentage of starting balance

0.46%

0.46%

# Fixed days

42 (68%)

42 (68%)

# Equity days

20 (32%)

20 (32%)

# Above-normal days

16

16

Asset classes with most

trading inflows in Q1 2022

Percentage of inflows

Index dollar value ($mil)

Stable value funds

74%

$885

Money market funds

12%

$145

Bond funds

8%

$98

Asset classes with most

trading outflows in Q1 2022

Percentage of outflows

Index dollar value ($mil)

Target date funds

44%

$532

Large U.S. equity funds

30%

$364

Company stock

8%

$93

Returns for common indices

Q1 2022

2022 YTD

Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index

-5.93%

-5.93%

S&P 500 Index

-4.60%

-4.60%

Russell 2000 Index

-7.53%

-7.53%

MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index (net)

-5.44%

-5.44%

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 2 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.

Related Insights


Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: April 2024 Observations

Trading activity rose slightly in April with four above-normal1 days compared to just two in March, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) IndexTM.

2024 Universe Benchmarks Report

Alight’s 2024 Universe Benchmarks report provides a comprehensive look at the savings and investment behaviors of participants in defined contribution (DC) plans.

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: First Quarter 2024 Observations

401(k) investors were active in Q1, logging 14 above-normal1 days, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™. The distribution of those days reveals a slowing trend, however, with eight taking place in January, followed by four in February and just two in March.