International Funds Were the Biggest Losers in 2008

Here’s how the major asset classes fared


It’s no secret that many investors pulled their money out of the plunging stock market last year. A total of $6.3 billion was moved out of equity investments within 401(k)s during 2008.

International funds were the biggest losers in 2008, with $1.9 billion shifting out of this asset class, according to the Hewitt 401(k) Index, which tracks the transfer activity of about 1.5 million 401(k) plan participants with approximately $90 billion in collective assets. Large U.S. equities weren’t far behind with an outflow of $1.7 billion, the largest movement since the beginning of the index. Both balanced and lifestyle funds had large declines as well. Investors transferred out approximately $1 billion and $529 million respectively.

As expected, somewhat safer asset classes received the largest inflows last year. GIC/stable value funds grew by $5.3 billion during 2008, bond funds received $1.2 billion, and money market funds saw $459 million transferred in.