Where can I find a list of the rankings of Insurance companies in regards to assets under management and total plans with respect to retirements plans/401ks?
Insurance companies, mutual fund companies & brokerage plans are not usually the best way to go for long-term success of a retirement plan. These are known to have the highest internal costs available.
The best advice would be to find a local Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) that will be able to sign in writing as a 3(21) & 3(38) fiduciary for the plan. Ask any other provider do this, and they may give you a "warranty" but will not sign their name to be a named fiduciary. A fiduciary must provide the highest duty to the client, required by law. Full transparency of fees and duties up front.
If you still would like to see the lists, you may go to http://www.plansponsor.com/ This magazine provides a list of all plan recordkeepers.
Thank you and good luck.
You can't beat the advice David has given you. An RIA can act as the named 3(38) FIDUCIARY even on a plan that is administered by an insurance company. But also keep in mind there a other 401(k) providers and administrators that have nothing to do with insurance providers. These companies use a trust for the foundation of their plans and not a variable annutiy like most insurance companies. The key features you are looking for are; open architecture, low cost preferrably loaded with index funds and allows for someone other than the plan sponsor to at least share in Fiduciary responsibilities. A good book is "Stop the 401(k) Rip Off" by David Loeper.
Ed and David are spot-on. I just wanted to add that a smaller plan may be best set up as a SEP-IRA for example, which can reduce the overall costs, and give the employer more flexibility. If you have a larger company you can get services bundled with everything wrapped in the same package (like and insurance company).
The better approach may be to segregate the various functions. The investment advisor, the record keeper, the custodian, and the “front-end” (what you log onto) can be selected to best meet your needs, desires, and cost constraints. A Registered Investment Advisor can help you put the pieces together into a package that makes sense for your company.
As far as costs are concerned there is a study by Deloitte which may be helpful, at http://www.ici.org/pdf/rpt_11_dc_401k_fee_study.pdf .
According to our Beacon database of 50,000 plans representing close to 90% of the assets, the largest insurance company recordkeepers in the 401k marketplace are ING, Prudential, Principal, Great West, Nationwide, and MassMutual.