Top Small-Cap Funds in America’s 401k Plans (2013)

We are pleased to announce the 2013 list of the Top 12 Small-Cap Funds for the 401k and defined contribution industry.

“Small-cap funds are a great way to diversify an investor’s portfolio,” said Brooks Herman, Head of Data & Research at BrightScope. “Traditionally, small-caps are considered more risky but have a higher expected return. The funds in this list have attracted retirement assets because they demonstrate favorable risk and return profiles.”

Noteworthy findings since BrightScope’s last release of this list, August 2011:

  • Vanguard Small Cap Index climbed from the number three spot on the list to take the top honors at number one this year
  • The previous #1 fund, Neuberger Berman Genesis, fell completely off the list since 2011, and was joined by fellow no-shows Royce Low Priced Stock and Wells Fargo Advantage Small Cap Value
  • BrightScope welcomes BlackRock Russell 2000 Index(#2), SSgA Russell 2000 Index (#5), and Northern Trust Russell 2000 Equity Index (#12) to the list this year

The Top 12 small-cap funds by total distribution include:

1 Vanguard Small Cap Index
2 BlackRock Russell 2000 Index
3 Vanguard Explorer
4 AllianzGI NFJ Small Cap Value
5 SSgA Russell 2000 Index
6 T. Rowe Price New Horizons
7 T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Stock
8 Lord Abbett Small-Cap Value
9 American Beacon Small Cap Value
10 T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Value
11 Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index
12 Northern Trust Russell 2000 Equity Index

This list is part of a series of rankings BrightScope will regularly publish to provide investment managers, mutual fund companies, investors, and others with more insight into the top funds and managers in the retirement marketplace. The proliferation of this critical information will dramatically increase the efficiency of the field and lead to lower cost plans and better outcomes for the 60 million Americans who depend on their 401k plan for retirement.

BrightScope’s technology uncovers audited financial data on investment funds held within real 401k plans. The BrightScope database is superior to the industry’s traditional survey-based approach. When surveys are done, they usually capture no more than 10 percent of total distribution and skew heavily towards funds prominent in the survey company’s client base. Through BrightScope Beacon, investment managers can access comprehensive data, giving them a transparent view into their own fund distribution, as well as the distribution of their competitors.