Companies are taking steps to give employees ways to protect their retirement savings from being eroded by inflation. A recent survey of 233 big companies by benefits consultancy Mercer found 46% offer or plan to offer an investment option that provides inflation protection.
Almost a quarter—24%—offer Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS), according to Mercer, while 12% have an investment option that combines such asset classes as commodities, real estate investment trusts and TIPS. Another 10% of companies plan to offer an investment option that provides inflation protection within the next year.
Large companies are most likely to provide such an option. Mercer says 66% of companies with $1 billion or more of assets offer a protection inflation investment, vs. 37% of companies with plan assets of $250 million or less.
On the other hand, companies are wary of providing gold or commodities as standalone investments; 72% deemed commodities inappropriate as a standalone and 85% gave a thumbs-down to offering gold.
Most plans still rely on mutual funds, the survey shows, with the use of separate accounts or collective trusts remaining limited. But 34% of with assets of $1 billion or more use separate accounts and 36% of them use collective trusts.