SOURCE: BrightScope


November 18, 2014 08:00 ET

BrightScope Ranks the Top 12 Small-Cap Funds Held in the Defined Contribution Marketplace

Vanguard Small Cap Index Snags the No. 1 Spot; Two Other Vanguard Funds Appear on List, as Do Three From T. Rowe Price

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 18, 2014) - BrightScope (, a leading provider of independent financial information and investment research, today announced the ranking of the Top 12 Small-Cap Funds in the defined contribution industry based on total distribution.

"Small-cap funds have been strong performers these past five years, and this year the BrightScope data reveals a fairly substantial increase in the assets represented in these Top 12 funds," said Brooks Herman, Head of Data & Research at BrightScope. "Investing in small-caps can be a great way to diversify a portfolio, which is key for successful long-term financial growth."

Noteworthy findings since BrightScope's last release of this list in November 2013:

  • Total assets held in the Top 12 Small-Cap Funds surpassed $50 billion, up from over $37.5 billion
  • Vanguard Small Cap Index scores the top spot for the second year in a row
  • Vanguard dominates more than the top spot: Vanguard Explorer (No. 3) and Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index (No. 8) are other highly-ranked funds on this year's list
  • Northern Trust Russell 2000 Equity Index make an impressive leap from No. 12 to No. 2

The Top 12 Small-Cap Funds by total distribution include:

1. Vanguard Small Cap Index

2. Northern Trust Russell 2000 Equity Index 

3. Vanguard Explorer

4. BlackRock Russell 2000 Index 

5. T. Rowe Price New Horizons

6. AllianzGI NFJ Small Cap Value 

7. T. Rowe Price Small Cap Stock

8. Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index 

9. SSgA Russell 2000 Index

10. SSgA Russell Small Cap Completeness Index

11. American Beacon Small Cap Value 

12. T. Rowe Price Small Cap Value

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 cloud-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