SOURCE: BrightScope


August 20, 2015 08:00 ET

BrightScope Highlights Top Industries With the Best 401k Plans

Law Continues Its Reign as No. 1; Utilities, Mining, Technology and Airlines Round Out the Top Five Industries for Third Year in a Row

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 20, 2015) - BrightScope (, a leading provider of independent financial information and investment research, today announced the list of industries ranked by average 401k plan rating for those containing more than $100 million in assets.

"Consistently increasing ratings and plan size shows that companies within the top industries on the list work hard year-after-year to improve the quality of 401k plans," said Brooks Herman, Head of Data & Research at BrightScope. "Although there is still work to be done, BrightScope has seen an increase in average plan rating across industries which shows employers of all types are making a conscious effort to help employees prepare for retirement."

Noteworthy findings in the 2015 Top Industries List include:

  • Law remains the most dominant industry, remaining No. 1 for three years in a row, while Utilities, Mining, Technology and Airlines round out the top five industries for third year in a row
  • Numbers of plans offered per industry with more an $100M increased by an average of nearly 16
    • Fastest Growing: Health & Medicine and Manufacturing were the fastest growing industries year-over-year with 56 new 401K plans containing more than $100M in assets. Business and Finance came in third with 38 new 401K plans
    • Most Changed: the Airline industry offered six fewer 401K plans with over $100M in assets; Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction industry offers four fewer 401K plans
    • Unchanged: Hotels, Casinos, and Food Services industries stayed stable with 37 401k plans containing more than $100M in assets offered
  • Top funds by total distribution held in the Top Industries 401k plans are (Fund - Plan Count Across Industries - Assets):

    1. Vanguard Institutional Index - 108 - $6.27B
    2. PIMCO Total Return - 202 - $4.56B
    3. American Funds EuroPacific Growth - 102 - $1.73B
    4. Fidelity Growth Company - 23 - $1.68B
    5. Vanguard Total Bond Market Index - 107 - $1.52B

Top industries with the highest ranked 401k plans containing more than $100 million in assets:

Industry - Number of Plans Evaluated - BrightScope Rating

1. Law - 222 - 83.49

2. Utilities - 109 - 78.65

3. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction - 71 - 77.95

4. Airlines - 49 - 76.26

5. Technology - 239 - 75.87

6. Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services - 220 - 75.84

7. Business and Finance - 473 - 75.39 

8. Manufacturing - 1,084 - 73.76

9. Management of Companies and Enterprises - 134 - 71.10

10. Information - 82 - 70.68

11. Wholesale Trade - 173 - 70.44

12. Automotive - 27 - 70.07

13. Real Estate and Rental and Leasing - 47 - 69.31

14. Other - 59 - 68.07

15. Health & Medicine - 312 - 67.38

16. Construction - 189 - 67.19

17. Transportation and Warehousing - 84 - 67.13

18. Arts & Entertainment - 30 - 65.84

19. Education - 40 - 64.91

20. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services - 52 - 63.31

21. Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting - 13 - 61.29

22. Retail Trade - 194 - 58.31 

23. Hotels, Casinos, and Food Services - 37 - 56.24

BrightScope obtains an increasing amount of its data directly from plan sponsors and record keepers, and augments these primary sources with data from publicly available sources such as the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission. By analyzing and interpreting this data, BrightScope provides unprecedented transparency into the 401k industry.

The BrightScope Rating was developed by BrightScope, Inc. with the help of leading academics and independent 401k fiduciaries. By analyzing more than 200 individual data points, the BrightScope Rating algorithm calculates a single numerical value for each 401k plan. The data points examined cover broad categories such as total plan cost, company generosity and investment menu quality.

BrightScope has rated nearly 50,000 401k and 403b plans, spanning more than 57 million workers and over $3 trillion in assets. Industry adoption of the BrightScope Rating will lead to more cost-effective plans, increased participation rates, higher employee satisfaction and better outcomes for the 60 million employees who depend on their 401k plan for retirement. 

About BrightScope
BrightScope is a financial information company that brings transparency to opaque markets through independent research and analysis. Delivered through web-based software, BrightScope data drives better decision-making for individual investors, corporate plan sponsors, asset managers, broker-dealers, and financial advisors. The BrightScope Rating™, developed in partnership with leading independent 401k fiduciaries, reviews more than 200 unique data inputs per plan and calculates a single numerical score which defines plan quality at the company level. In April 2011, the company launched BrightScope Advisor Pages™, the first comprehensive and publicly available directory of financial advisors designed to help consumers discover information and conduct due diligence on wealth management professionals. BrightScope also markets a suite of data analytics software products to Fortune 1000 companies, asset managers, broker-dealers, financial advisors, and other market participants. Public ratings for nearly 50,000 retirement plans as well as rating definitions, criteria and methodologies, and information on more than 680,000 financial advisors and nearly 33,000 active advisory firms are available for free at