The average account balance for plan participants using self-directed brokerage accounts with Charles Schwab fell 6% year-over-year in the first quarter, and were down 14% from last year's fourth quarter, the company recently announced. 

According to its SDBA Indicators Report, Schwab said the fourth quarter ended with a balance of $252,675. The analysis included about 145,000 retirement plan participants who have balances between $5,000 and $10 million in their Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account.

Trading volumes increased compared to the previous quarter, at an average of 13 trades per account, up from seven in Q4 2019, which is in line with broader investor activity seen during the first quarter as major stock indexes fell and trading activity rose amid market volatility, the report said.

Except for an increase in cash holdings, from 12% in Q4 2019 to 19% in Q1, not much changed in the way of asset allocation in the last quarter. Mutual funds continue to hold a majority of participant assets (34%). Within mutual funds, large stock funds had the largest allocation at approximately 30%, followed by taxable bond at 22% and international funds at 14%.

Following mutual funds, participants’ assets were also allocated in equities (27%), followed by cash (19%), exchange-traded funds (17%), and fixed income (3%). Apple's stock continues to be the top overall equity holding with 11% of the equity allocation of portfolios; followed by Amazon at 6.5%, Microsoft at 3.6%, Berkshire Hathaway at 2.5%, and Tesla at 2.1%.

As for dollars allocated to ETFs, 48% of investors went for U.S. equity, followed by U.S. fixed income (18%), international equity (13%) and sector ETFs (10%).

The report also noted that Gen X comprised 43% of Schwab's SDBA accounts, followed by baby boomers with 37% participation and millennials with 14%. Boomers, however, had the highest SDBA balances with an average of $367,425, followed by Gen X at $199,071 and millennials at $65,207.

Additionally, it showed that millennials are the least interested in working with an advisor. Only 11 % had advised accounts. Gen X, on the other hand, had the most advised accounts at 45%, followed by boomers at 41%.