US - The majority of senior finance executives view 401(k) plans as a significant tool for strengthening both their workforces and their companies, a study by Charles Schwab has revealed.
Jim McCool, executive vice president of Schwab Corporate & Retirement Services, said: "As the 401(k) and other employer-sponsored plans play a greater role in Americans' financial futures, we are seeing more companies look for ways to provide greater service and support for their employees.
"But it is also interesting to see the number of senior finance executives who view their corporate retirement plan as highly beneficial to their company's image and financial success."
Some 60% of companies reported they were committing more resources to 401(k) plans today compared to five years ago and 55% expected to devote even more resources to these plans in the coming years.
Although employers recognised the value of 401(k) plans, they said a number of challenges still existed.
Employers in the study cited current economic conditions and increased risk of fiduciary or legal liability on the part of the employer as the top challenges they faced when offering a 401(k) plan.
The study also revealed finance executives were striving to find the right balance of responsibilities between their company and their employees when it came to the activation and management of 401(k) plans.
McCool concluded: "More employers are realising that providing employees with advice and professionally managed investments in their 401(k) plans improves both returns and savings rates.
"Employers who focus on providing tools that drive results will be the most effective in helping their employees reach their retirement goals."
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