According to MetLife’s 2013 Stable Value Study, released today, the vast majority (86%) of plan sponsors have been offering stable value as an investment option in their defined contribution (DC) plans for more than two years, and more than 78% are not planning to make changes to their stable value offerings within the next year. Among those plan sponsors that added stable value as an investment option in their DC plan in the past two years, 47% said they did so to provide participants with a “capital preservation fund,” 37% said stable value “offers higher interest rates than other, comparable investments,” and the same percentage said “it was recommended by their recordkeeper/TPA.”
MetLife commissioned this study of 140 plan sponsors and 19 stable value fund providers to gain updated insights into the current landscape of stable value products since its inaugural study, released in 2010. The new study can be found at www.metlife.com/stablevaluestudy.
Among plan sponsors that offer stable value as an investment option in either their 401(k) or 457 plan(s), 48% say that their plan’s stable value option is backed in part by traditional GIC(s), 31% say they include separate account GIC(s) and 19% have synthetic GIC(s). The largest plans (10,000 or more plan participants) are more likely than small plans (100 to 999 participants) to say their offering is backed in part by a synthetic GIC (45% vs. 12%). About 75% of stable value fund providers also indicated their offerings included more than one investment type.
However, when it comes to understanding the arrangements plan sponsors have selected, more than one in five plan sponsors (22%) who offer stable value to their participants said they did not know what types of stable value contracts back their offering, and the low percentage of smaller plans identifying synthetics as elements of their stable value option suggests they may not be aware that pooled stable value funds often incorporate all three types of contracts. This finding is consistent with the results of MetLife’s 2010 Stable Value Study, though the overall level of familiarity among plans sponsors and stable value fund providers has increased for most factors since the initial study.