BrightScope Top 30 401k Plans of 2013

Today BrightScope is pleased to announce the Top 30 401k Plans of 2013. BrightScope’s Top 30 list comprises large 401k plans with high overall quality, as measured by the BrightScope Rating. The BrightScope Rating measures how effective a 401k plan is at getting its participants to retirement. More details about the BrightScope Rating can be obtained in the FAQ section of the BrightScope website.

“Each year since our founding, we have released a Year-End Top 30 Ratings list to highlight the very best 401k plans in the country. This year is no different,” says Mike Alfred, CEO and co-founder of BrightScope. “The beauty of the BrightScope Rating is that it is entirely quantitative. It is not a survey or political contest. The elite 401k plans on this list only appear there because they are highly likely to deliver their respective plan participants to a secure and dignified retirement.”

Which traits define the plans that make the Top 30 Plans List?

1. Generous Company Contributions:

Company contributions are a major component of the BrightScope Rating and thus the Top 30 Plans List. Offering a match or profit sharing contribution to the plan is a great incentive for employees to participate and defer their salary towards retirement. Ernst & Young, Wellington Management, and United Airlines were some of the most generous plans on the Top 30 List. The average company generosity was $11,600 and can be in the form of a company match or profit-sharing.

2. Immediate Plan Eligibility:

A plan’s eligibility period is the length of time between when an employee is hired and when they are eligible to participate in the plan. Short plan eligibility requirements allow new hires to save more towards retirement. This year’s Top 30 list includes twenty-six plans with immediate eligibility. Removing barriers to saving is important to the top plans.

3. Immediate Vesting:

While a participant’s elective deferrals are always immediately vested, company contributions can take up to six years to vest depending upon the plan. Twenty-one of the Top 30 plans offer immediate vesting of company contributions thus ensuring that the money in their account is theirs to keep.

4. Low Fees:

Plan costs can greatly affect investment returns therefore altering participant account balances. BrightScope’s Total Plan Cost (TPC) calculations include investment expense ratios and administrative costs. Among plans found in this year’s Top 30 list, the average Total Plan Cost has dropped by 1 basis point to 0.28%.

5. High Participation Rates:

The first step in saving for retirement is participating in an employer’s retirement plan. We have seen participation rates climb to almost 96% in this year’s list.

6. Salary Deferral:

Plans within the Top 30 list average over $12,500 in salary deferrals per participant. Companies can incentivize their employees to save in a number of ways. For example, in 2012, Google’s default automatic deferral percentage was 6% and they raised that to 10% in 2013.

Statistics of the 2013 Top 30 List:

  • Target Date Funds make inroads. Last year, 4.9% of Top 30 Plans’ assets were in a Target Date Fund; this year 5.4% of plan assets are in target date funds.
  • Index funds growth continues. Index funds account for 33% of assets in the Top 30 Plans year, up from 29% of last year’s assets.

Noteworthy Findings:

  • NFL Second Career Savings Plan is the #1 plan. Last year, the NFL Players played without a collective bargaining agreement, so company generosity was much lower. With a collective bargaining agreement in place for the most recent year, retirement savings for the plan were significant.
  • Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation topped over $1 billion in plan assets and became eligible for this list. We welcome them at the number 22 spot.
  • Anadarko Petroleum Corporation saw a move to number 10 from the 20 spot last year due to increases in participation rate and company generosity.

The entire list of the 2013 Top 30 401k Plans with more than $1 billion in assets:

2013 Rank

2012 Rank



BrightScope Rating

NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan
New York, NY 91.14
2 2
The Savings Plan of Saudi Arabian
Oil Company
 Houston, TX 90.73
3 1

Southwest Airlines Pilots

Retirement Savings Plan
Dallas, TX 90.55
4 3

Wellington Retirement and Pension Plan
Boston, MA 90.36
5 N/A UAUnited Airlines Pilot Directed Account Plan Chicago, IL 89.93
6 5

Amgen Retirement and Savings Plan
Thousand Oaks, CA 89.48
7 N/A Novartis
Novartis Corporation Investment
Savings Plan
New York, NY 88.59
8 10
Bristol Myers Squibb Logo

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Savings

and Investment Program
New York, NY 88.32
9 9
Southern California Permanente Medical Group

Southern California Permanente

Medical Group Retirement Plan
Pasadena, CA 87.68
10 20 Anadarko

Anadarko Employee Savings Plan
 The Woodlands, TX 87.65
11 13 BayerBayer Corporation Savings
and Retirement Plan
 Pittsburgh, PA 87.56
12 11 Google
Google Inc. 401(k) Savings Plan
 Mountain View, CA 87.33
13 12 ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil Savings Plan
Houston, TX 87.25
14 7 Credit Suisse
Employees Savings and Retirement
Plan of Credit Suisse
 New York, NY 87.06
15 16 Chevron
Chevron Employee Savings
Investment Plan
 San Ramon, CA 87.00
16 14 IBM
IBM 401(k) Plus Plan
Armonk, NY 86.97
17 22
BP Employee Savings Plan
Houston, TX 86.89
18 N/A
AstraZeneca Savings and Security Plan
 Wilmington, DE 86.88
19 19 Ernst & Young LogoErnst & Young Partnership
Retirement Plan
Secaucus, NJ 86.80
20 17
BASF LogoBASF Corporation Retirement
Savings Plan
 Florham Park, NJ 86.75
21 28
Bechtel Trust & Thrift Plan
San Francisco, CA 86.58
22 N/A
Freddie Mac
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Thrift/401(k) Savings Plan
 McLean, VA 86.44
23 23
Shell Provident Fund
Houston, TX 86.30
24 1
Marathon Oil
Marathon Oil Company Thrift Plan
 Houston, TX 86.24
25 N/A
Delta AirlinesDelta Pilots Defined Contribution Plan
Atlanta, GA 86.23
26 24
UBS Savings and Investment Plan
 New York, NY 86.23
27 29
GlaxoSmithKline Retirement Savings Plan
Philadelphia, PA 86.02
28 N/A Energy Future HoldingsEFH Thrift Plan Dallas, TX 85.85
29 21 CiscoCisco Systems, Inc. 401(k) Plan  San Jose, CA 85.85
30 N/A
CaterpillarCaterpillar 401(k) Savings Plan
Peoria, IL 85.74

To learn more about the BrightScope 2013 Top 30 401k Plans List please contact us at This award is based on plan experience through 12/31/2012.

*DISCLAIMER: Ratings continually change as data is updated over time. Ratings should be viewed as a “snapshot in time.” To view current ratings information for a given plan click to view the companies plan page. The rating on the plan page may not match the rating at the time of the release of the rankings.