Employers are clearly more optimistic about the economy, for another 40% that had suspended 401(k) contributions will resume them by mid 2011, doubling the 40% that already have resumed suspended or reduced matches, reports the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America.

Overall, however, the vast majority of 401(k) plans did not suspend or reduce their matches, the council found. More than 70% made no change to matching contributions, and nearly 10% actually increased them in the past three years.

Since 2008, only 14.8% suspended matching contributions. "Companies continue to make their 401(k) plans a top priority," says David Wray, president of the Council.  "Those that have suspended their matches are in the process of restoring them, and companies are aggressive restructuring their investment lineups."

However, among those companies that suspended matching contributions, 78.1% said their workers have decreased participation in their 401(k) plan - indicating how powerful a motivator company matches are.

And plan sponsors have become more involved, too, with 94% having a committee to monitor fund performance, and more than half changing their investment lineup in the past year, replacing poor performing funds with better choices. And 72.2% said they have scrutinized their plan’s fees, up from 55.4% that did so in 2009.

The findings are based on a survey of 531 plan sponsors around the country in October.

Barney is the editor of Money Management Executive, a SourceMedia publication.Follow EBN on: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Podcasts

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