In the News
FEB 23, 2017
You can look up ratings for many companies' 401(k) plans at www.brightscope.com -- where it rates them on fees, among other things. If your company's plan only offers high-fee investment choices, ask the plan administrator for lower-fee options.
FEB 23, 2017
BrightScope scored the plans on more than 200 data points found in public documents that large employers must file with the Labor Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of the most recently available public data was current as of Dec. 31, 2015.
FEB 21, 2017
“This is our eighth year compiling the year-end Top 30 ratings list, and yet again we see companies offering higher quality plans,” said Brooks Herman, Head of Data & Research at BrightScope. “We have witnessed average plan ratings improve each year in the Top 30 List – and this year is no different. This demonstrates that America’s employees and employers recognize how critical a high quality 401k plan is to maintaining an acceptable standard of living in retirement.”
FEB 21, 2017
Collectively, New York Life’s two DC plans represented more than $3 billion in assets as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope. The firm’s employee plan was established in 1969, and its similar plan for agents was established in 1986.
FEB 21, 2017
Delta pilots flew away with the best 401k in 2016, taking the No. 1 spot in BrightScope’s list of the country’s top 30 plans.
Delta is also the perennial top gun in on-time arrival performance. Coincidence?
The sky jockeys came is at a 92.6 rating and a total plan cost under 25 basis points, with BrightScope adding that “company generosity and salary deferrals accelerated the plan to the top position.”
The list, produced by the San Diego-based retirement research firm, recognizes companies with the best large 401k plans that contain more than $1 billion in assets.
FEB 13, 2017
Meanwhile CITs accounted for about 26% of such retirement assets in 2014, up from 21% two years prior, according to the most recent joint report on the market from BrightScope and ICI
FEB 9, 2017
Washington University’s plan held nearly $3.8 billion in assets among more than 15,000 participants as of the end of 2015, according to data from BrightScope.
FEB 3, 2017
Pitfalls of 401(k) plans include confusing or duplicative investment options, high-cost actively managed funds and poorly performing funds. But more and more, 401(k) investors aren't taking lousy plans lying down. To avoid lawsuits — and to encourage employees to save — employers are improving their retirement plans by, among other things, offering target-date retirement funds. These typically low-fee mixes of index mutual funds, which reallocate over time based on your expected retirement date, are the low-cost, default options in 75 percent of 401(k) plans, according to a 2015 report by the Investment Company Institute and BrightScope.com, a website that analyzes 401(k) plans. That's up from 32 percent in 2006. Investment fees also are dropping.
FEB 3, 2017
An analysis by the research firm BrightScope found fees on small retirement plans can vary from as little as 0.5 percent a year to more than 3 percent or 4 percent.
JAN 23, 2017
Franklin’s plan represented $1.1 billion in participant assets as of Sept. 30, 2015, according to BrightScope. The San Diego–based research provider gave Franklin’s plan a rating of 84, placing it in the top 15% of its peer group.
JAN 20, 2017
Data from BrightScope puts plan assets at about $2.92 billion as of the end of 2015. Form 5500 data collected by BrightScope show that the plan had about 14,760 active participants at the time and another 4,860 participants who had left assets in the plan after retiring or leaving the company.
JAN 19, 2017
As of the end of 2014, CITs held about 26% of all 401(k) plan assets, according to the most recent joint report from BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute. That figure is up from the 21% of 401(k) assets CITs held in 2012.
JAN 12, 2017
At CKE employees’ retirement is funded through a $47.5 million defined contribution plan with more than 2,400 active participants, according to BrightScope data. BrightScope rates the plan as about average, faulting it for high fees, low participation and weak company support, as reported.
DEC 21, 2016
Another billion-dollar plan finds itself in the crosshairs of an excessive fee lawsuit, raising some allegations common to this litigation – with a couple of new twists.
The suit, Creamer v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (C.D. Cal., No. 2:16-cv-09321), filed Dec. 16, 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, charged that Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. “caused Plan participants who invested in index funds to pay seven times more than a reasonable fee due to multiple layers of fees.
The plan’s Brightscope rating was invoked, with the plaintiffs noting that the difference in Starwood’s rating compared with the top BrightScope rating for peer plans means that “sixteen years of additional work was required by Starwood employees to reach the same level of savings as peer plan participants,” and that therefore Starwood participants lost savings of $110,871 per participant, or $5 billion collectively, as compared to the highest ranking peer plan.
DEC 16, 2016
A 401(k) plan is one of the best vehicles for helping you save up for a secure retirement, but a second proposed class action lawsuit being filed against brokerage firm Edward Jones highlights once again that even the best savings plans can hide significant risks. Do yourself a favor and ensure that your own 401(k) doesn't contain these hidden dangers.
Knowledge is power
So you know what to look for -- now where do you start? Begin by reviewing your account statement, the disclosure forms that plans are required to provide participants, and the plan's annual report. Because fees come in various forms, finding them isn't always easy, so you might try comparing your plan to others on a site like BrightScope and/or searching the U.S. Department of Labor's Form 5500 for plan disclosures.
DEC 13, 2016
The newly announced Secretary of Labor is best known for his stance on keeping minimum wages minimal but his actions as a plan sponsor of a 20,200-employee firm show he is inclined to minimize 401(k) participation and matching, too.
Subject to Senate confirmation, Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., the parent company of fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., will be the next Secretary of Labor.
"They’re really saying ‘we checked the box,’ getting by with the bare minimum in their offering," says Mike Alfred, co-founder and CEO of BrightScope Inc. about CKE's pension plan. See: RIAs are set to capture chunks of the $26 billion that GM is spinning out of its pension plan.
DEC 9, 2016
Fast food executive Andy Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Labor Department, could be in a position to undermine the agency's new rule on retirement advice which has long been opposed by the financial industry.
The plan is less generous than some of its fast food competitors, according to data and analysis from Brightscope Inc, a research company that rates 401k plans.
In 2015, CKE opted not to match the retirement contributions of the plan's participants, according to Labor Department data.
The plan also carries high-fee investments, has low participation and generally scores worse than many of its rivals even in the notoriously high-turnover, low-benefit fast-food industry, according to Brightscope.
The CKE plan suggests that Puzder will bring "more of an industry-friendly perspective to the office," said Mike Alfred, managing director at Brightscope, which ranks it below those at Jack in the Box, McDonalds and Yum! Brands Inc.
NOV 29, 2016
At the end of the second quarter of 2016, total assets in defined contribution plans hit $7 trillion, according to research from the Investment Company Institute and BrightScope.
OCT 22, 2016
I met Mike and Ryan Alfred when they first started Brightscope and right out of the gates, I knew that Brightscope was going to have an impact on the retirement plan business.
Q: Do you think Brightscope was part of the large movement for transparency that resulted in the fee disclosure regulations in 2012?
A: I think we played an important role in the process. We have provided data and analysis to the DOL, GAO, Senate Aging Committee, House Education & Labor Committee and many others over the years. We have been active in Washington DC and Ryan serves on the board of trustees at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In addition, we provided data for numerous mainstream media stories discussing the importance of fee transparency. Our vocal support of fee transparency may end up being one of the most important legacies of our firm.
OCT 21, 2016
One OCIO product that could prove useful with the advent of the fiduciary rule is the TAMP. For a free that often comes out to a couple of dozen basis points, TAMPs offer not just an off-the-shelf OCIO service but also the opportunity to modernize a firm’s financial technology platform. The top three providers, according to Y.S. financial information company BrightScope: $162.3 billion OCIO of Oaks, Pennsylvania; Chicago-based Envestnet, with $82.1 billion; and Concord, California-based AssetMark, with $20 billion.