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For many employees, it’s easier and less painful to choose a cell phone provider than to navigate the often mystifying plethora of 401(k) investment options. Once participants do lock in an investment strategy, only 14% play an active role in managing their funds. “There has been a high level of inertia,” says Michael Doshier, vice president of marketing for retirement at Fidelity Investments.

Now, for those who lack the confidence or time to manage their accounts, 401(k) providers, such as Fidelity, Vanguard, Mercer and JPMorgan, will do the heavy lifting. Although the option has been available for years, plan sponsors only recently took notice after the Labor Department approved such managed accounts as a qualified default investment alternative for automatic enrollment. The other two options: balanced and target date funds.

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