Retirement plan participants appear to be regaining confidence in equity investments, according to quarterly data released Tuesday by MassMutual Financial Group's retirement services division.

Continuing a trend that began in mid-March, participant assets are gradually shifting back into equities and asset allocation investments, the company said. In the second quarter, 38.7% of participant assets was in equities and 31.7% in stable-value options, it said.

This was a reversal from the first quarter, when 36.3% of plan assets was in stable-value investments and 35.1% in equities. Overall, equities and stable-value options accounted for more than 70% of total assets in the second quarter, and assets in asset allocation options also continued to increase gradually, to nearly 22% of the total.

MassMutual said its call center volume normalized in the second quarter after two consecutive quarters of greater activity. Though calls regarding loans grew by about three percentage points, to 11%, about 0.24% of participants actually initiated a loan, indicating participants are borrowing against their retirement accounts as a "last resort," according to the company.

It also said older participants are saving, on average, three percentage points more than participants younger than 30. Growth in savings rates averaged nearly four percentage points per participant who made an increase. More than 90% of participants made no change in their savings rate in the quarter.

MassMutual said that 19% of participants changed their asset allocations in the quarter, down from 25% in the first quarter and 20% in the fourth.

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