San Diego Business Journal

Brightscope Rankings Put NFL’s Retirement Plan as a Top Scorer

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brightscope released its fifth annual ratings list for 401k plans. The No. 1 plan is providing services to some of the highest paid employees in the nation professional football players.

The San Diego-based company’s rating for the NFL Player Second Career Savings Plan was 91.13, above the plans for the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and the retired pilots of Southwest Airlines. The ratings list that went 30 deep covered only plans with more than $1 billion in assets.

Brightscope, a business that analyzes and rates company employee defined contribution retirement plans and wealth management advisers, compiles data directly from plan sponsors as well as publicly available sources such as the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission. By analyzing 200 data points, Brightscope said it calculates a single numerical value for each plan.

CEO Mike Alfred said the ratings are entirely quantitative, and 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,” Alfred said.

The 401k plan for NFL players was helped to the top of the list because of a new collective bargaining agreement between players and their employer that was more generous in company matching contributions, Brightscope said.

Among some findings of this year’s list is the continuing trend of more funds offering target date funds and index funds to their workers’ 401k plans. Index funds accounted for a third of all the assets in the Top 30 plans this year, up 0.04 percent from last year.

Also, plans on list had an average about $12,500 in annual salary deferrals per participant, down from $12,700 in 2012.