BrightScope Top 30 401k Plans of 2015

Today BrightScope is pleased to announce the Top 30 401k Plans of 2015. 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.

“This is our seventh year compiling the Year-End Top 30 Ratings list, and yet again we see companies offer increasingly outstanding plans,” said Mike Alfred, CEO & co-founder of BrightScope. “It’s encouraging to see the average plan rating continue to improve, demonstrating employers recognize the importance a high quality 401k plan plays in helping employees retire with dignity.”

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. Wellington, the NFL, and Amgen were some of the most generous plans on the Top 30 List. The average company generosity was just under $12,000 per participant 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-eight 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-four 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 0.25%.

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 over 96% in this year’s list.

6. Salary Deferral:

Plans within the Top 30 list average over $13,700 in salary deferrals per participant. Companies can incentivize their employees to save in a number of ways.

Statistics of the 2015 Top 30 List:

  • Plan quality has steadily increased: the average BrightScope rating of plans on the list is up to 88.47 compared to an average rating of 87.1 for plans on the 2011 Top 30 List
  • Target Date Fund growth spikes: TDFs represent 12.42 percent of assets, up from 5.54 percent compared to the 2014 Top 30 List
  • Index Funds stay stable: for the second year in a row, index funds account for 35 percent of assets across plans on the list
  • Participation rates continue to be high, at 96% this year
  • Salary deferrals per participant average over $13,781, growing from $13,572
  • Average account balances represented have decreased by nearly $10,000 since the Top 30 List of

Noteworthy Findings:

The entire list of the 2015 Top 30 401k Plans with more than $1 billion in assets:

2015 Rank
2014 Rank
BrightScope Rating
1 1
NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan
Baltimore, MD 91.13
2 3
The Savings Plan of Saudi Arabian
Oil Company
 Houston, TX 90.79
3 6
Amgen Retirement and Savings Plan
Thousand Oaks, CA 90.78
4 2

Southwest Airlines Pilots

Retirement Savings Plan
Dallas, TX 90.63
5 4

Wellington Retirement and Pension Plan
Boston, MA 90.48
6 22
AstraZenecaAstraZeneca Savings and Security Plan
 Wilmington, DE 89.39
7 7
UPS/IPA Defined Contribution Money Purchase Pension Plan
Louisville, KY 89.10
8 8
ConocoPhillips Savings Plan
Houston, TX 88.75
9 N/A ChevronChevron Employee Savings Investment Plan

San Ramon, CA

10 11 BPBP Employee Savings Plan Houston, TX 88.31
11 28
AnadarkoAnadarko Employee Savings Plan
The Woodlands, TX 88.30
12 N/A Agilent Technologies, Inc.Agilent Technologies, Inc. 401(k) Plan

Santa Clara, CA

13 16 BechtelBechtel Trust & Thrift Plan San Francisco, CA 88.22
14 13
Southern California Permanente Medical GroupSouthern California Permanente
Medical Group Retirement Plan
Pasadena, CA 88.21
15 10
ExxonMobil Savings Plan
Houston, TX 88.20
16 N/A PfizerPfizer Savings Plan

Peapack, NJ

17 14
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
401(K) Savings & Investment Plan
Charlotte, NC 88.11
18 12

Google Inc. 401(k) Savings Plan
 Mountain View, CA 88.07
19 9 BayerBayer Corporation Savings
and Retirement Plan
 Pittsburgh, PA 87.89
20 30
Novartis Corporation Investment
Savings Plan
New York, NY 87.88
21 15 Phillips 66 Savings Plan Houston, Texas 87.68
22 26
Shell Provident Fund
Houston, TX 87.59
23 17 Latham & Watkins 401(k)
Savings and Profit Sharing Plan
Los Angeles, CA 87.56
24 N/A BASFBASF Corporation Retirement Savings Plan

Florham Park, NJ

25 N/A TakedaTakeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. Savings and Retirement Plan

Deerfield, IL

26 N/A SanofiSanofi U.S. Group Savings Plan

Bridgewater, NJ

27 N/A Bristol-Myers SquibbBristol-Myers Squibb Company Savings and Investment Program

New York, NY

28 N/A McGraw-HillThe 401(k) Savings and Profit Sharing Plan of McGraw-Hill Financial, Inc. and its Subsidiaries

New York, NY

29 27
Federal National Mortgage Association Retirement Savings Plan for Employees
Washington, DC 87.26
30 N/A Allergan, Inc.Allergan, Inc. Savings and Investment Plan

Irvine, CA


To learn more about the BrightScope 2015 Top 30 401k Plans List please contact us at This award is based on plan experience through 12/31/2014.

*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.