In the News
AUG 9, 2017
Although the target-date market is highly coveted by fund providers, it is difficult one in which to build scale, given the advantages of large defined contribution plan recordkeepers with products of their own to sell. And because four companies control a large majority of target-date mutual fund assets, “the other 50 target-date fund providers are fighting over the remaining 20% of assets,” says Brooks Herman, head of research at Strategic Insight’s BrightScope unit.
AUG 7, 2017
Musto is “a great pickup” for Ascensus and should help the firm maintain its reputation for being one of the faster-growing recordkeepers of its size, says BrightScope CEO Mike Alfred.
“He has [some of] the best and broadest understanding of the retirement market, from all of the different business units and strategy down to the technical level,” Alfred says. (BrightScope’s parent, Strategic Insight, and Ascensus are both owned by private equity firm Genstar Capital.)
AUG 7, 2017
A little information can go a long way in the retirement business, which is something that brothers Mike and Ryan Alfred were able to turn into a thriving enterprise.
Founded in 2009, their company BrightScope was the first online rating system for 401(k) plans, allowing employees to plug in the name of their company - or a company they were thinking of joining - and find out how a firm’s investment options and fees stacked up against others.
Mike, now 36, and Ryan, 34, sold BrightScope last fall to New York-based data company Strategic Insight for an undisclosed amount, but have remained with the company in management roles.
Mike Alfred spoke to Reuters about how they decided it was time to make a change.
AUG 5, 2017
Conducted jointly by AB and BrightScope, the study shows that the share of recordkeepers’ proprietary fund share as a percentage of their TDF assets declined 16%, from 59% in 2009 to 43% in 2014. Conversely, the use of non-proprietary TDFs increased by 16%, from 25% to 41%, over the same period.
AUG 3, 2017
New research shows plan sponsors are shifting assets away from their recordkeepers’ proprietary funds in favor of third-party offerings.
The study, from AllianceBernstein and BrightScope, shows the share of recordkeepers’ proprietary assets has fallen by 16%, from 59% to 43%, since 2009. At the same time, the use of non-proprietary target-date funds has grown by 16%.
The study draws from BrightScope’s database of more than 6,000 401(k) plans, representing more than $2 trillion in assets and 25 million participants as of 2014.
AUG 2, 2017
Franklin’s 401(k) plan had more than $1.1 billion among about 5,700 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope.
AUG 1, 2017
“Our data suggests that we have now entered a new era of target-date funds—this means new players and a greater appetite for considering a variety of target-date offerings outside of a recordkeeper’s proprietary TDF, which is likely a result of the increasing importance of fees, transparency and investment performance in DC plans,” Brooks Herman, vice president of Data and Research at Strategic Insight, said in a statement.
JUL 27, 2017
Recordkeepers that offer their own target-date funds (TDFs)—known as “proprietary” funds—are losing share of assets on their own platforms as plan sponsors are increasingly choosing funds from other providers given the increased array of solutions that offer benefits such as enhanced diversification, lower fees, multiple managers, etc., according to a study conducted jointly by AllianceBernstein L.P (AB) and BrightScope, a Strategic Insight company.
JUL 17, 2017
Although the details differ among the cases, the cumulative effect has been downward pressure on the fees that workers pay inside their retirement accounts. The average total cost of a 401(k) plan was 0.97 percent of assets in 2014, down from 1.02 percent in 2009, according to a 2016 study released by Brightscope and the Investment Company Institute.
JUL 12, 2017
The defendants in the lawsuit — American Airlines, American Beacon Advisors and the plan’s benefits committees — will contribute the $22 million into an account that would pay disbursements to an estimated 103,000 people who participated in the company’s plan between April 15, 2010, and Oct. 30, 2015, according to court records. The plan represented more than $7 billion in assets among about 84,000 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope.
JUL 12, 2017
In spite of the rules passed a few years ago requiring better 401k fee disclosure, surveys show most participants still have no clue how much they’re actually paying. But according to Brightscope, participants in small plans pay 1.9 percent in fees annually, and participants in large plans pay 1.08 percent per year. If those fees sound like ‘small change’ to you, then here’s a wake-up call. Fees of only 1 percent per year can slash the value of your savings by 28 percent over the next 35 years, according to the Department of Labor.
JUL 11, 2017
The two plans each had about 2,300 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope, which also provided the asset levels of each plan.
Among the MFSavings plan’s largest investments were the MFS Value Fund and MFS Growth Funds, which each represented 7% of plan assets. The MFS Aggressive Growth Allocation Fund held 6%, according to BrightScope.
JUL 6, 2017
The recent claims against Pioneer Natural Resources were filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado on behalf of plan participant William Barrett. The energy company’s 401(k) plan had 4,400 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from ratings and research firm BrightScope, which gave the plan high ratings for having low fees and high company contributions.
JUL 5, 2017
The Allianz 401(k) plan had assets of about $861 million as of the end of 2015, across about 4,000 participants, according to data from BrightScope. As of last year, the largest investment option within the plan, by assets, was the Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account, a self-directed brokerage option, that accounted for about 15% of participants’ money. The Pimco StocksPLUS fund held 8% of assets at that time, and the AllianzGI Global Allocation Fund held 6%, according to BrightScope.
JUN 23, 2017
As of the end of 2015, the plan represented $3.8 billion in asset and included about 40,500 participants, according to data from Brightscope.
JUN 22, 2017
In 401(k) plans with more than $1 billion of AUM, CITs already control almost 40% of assets, while mutual funds control 30%. That’s according to a study by the Investment Company Institute and BrightScope Inc.
JUN 21, 2017
Putnam’s plan held more than $615 million in assets among about 3,400 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope.
JUN 16, 2017
If you want to learn more about identifying and deciphering retirement account fees, start with this series of stories. But because most of us don’t have much context for what is reasonable, employees of large organizations should turn to Brightscope for its rankings of thousands of employer-based plans.
JUN 14, 2017
One popular 401(k) fund that stands out for its tech weighting is the $114.5 billion Fidelity Contrafund. In a list of the most popular equity-focused funds in 401(k) plans, by assets, Contrafund ranks third. (The financial information company Brightscope, which provided the list, says the actual amount of 401(k) assets is proprietary; it is undoubtedly a large chunk of assets.)
JUN 13, 2017
By comparison, a 401(k) plan with between $1 million and $10 million in assets has an average asset-weighted cost of 1.14%, according to a joint study conducted by the Investment Company Institute and BrightScope Inc.