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Smallest Companies Have Highest-Performing 401k Plans, Study Finds


NEW YORK, NY, March 20, 2017 -- ALM Intelligence has published the results of the second annual 401k Plan Benchmark Report from its benefits unit, Judy Diamond Associates. This in-depth analysis from Judy Diamond Associates examined active 401k plans with at least one current participant and more than $3,000 in plan assets during 2015, the most recent fiscal year for which data is available. The approximately 500,000 plans evaluated for the benchmark report cover about 53 million eligible workers and an estimated $4.1 trillion in total assets across 26 industries.

The complete 401k Plan Benchmark Report is available at: http://www.judydiamond.com/research/.

"The primary goal of this report is to present unbiased, data-supported insights into the 401k plans offered by employers in a wide variety of industries," said Eric Ryles, Vice President of Customer Solutions at ALM Intelligence and Managing Director of Judy Diamond Associates. "Our findings can help plan sponsors determine whether or not they are taking the right steps to deliver positive retirement outcomes for their employees, empowering them to identify and correct deficiencies in their plans as well as attract and retain top talent."

The study's conclusions include:

  • There continues to be a significant disparity between the quality of 401k plans in "white-collar" and "blue-collar" industries. After ranking industries using a variety of criteria, Certified Public Accountants, as an industry, had the highest median plan score, while the Legal and Insurance industries had the second- and third-highest scores, respectively. The Educational Services industry was ranked last, followed by Accommodation and Food Services.
  • Median participation rates among 401k plans in a broad spectrum of industries are fairly good. None of the 26 examined industries has a median participation rate of less than 86 percent, indicating that the majority of employers understand the necessity of encouraging employee participation in their 401k plans.
  • In 2015, as in 2014, the average 401k plan rate of return did not vary significantly based on employer size or industry. This finding is encouraging because it suggests that most employers offer good-quality investment options.
  • 401k plans in the Financial Advice/Investment Activities industry have the second-lowest median rate of return.
  • Plans offered by Consultants have the lowest median employee longevity among the 26 surveyed industries. This suggests that many consultants are moving between firms, or starting their own companies and then returning to larger firms after a few years.

"Like all of ALM Intelligence's resources, this 401k benchmark study helps companies in many industries across the country understand how they stand in relation to their industry peers," said Andrew Neblett, President of ALM Intelligence. "This insight is crucial for helping businesses meet their long-term goals and effectively compete for top-caliber employees."

Learn more about how Judy Diamond Associates is the Leading Provider of Lead Generation & Recruitment Tools at www.judydiamond.com

About ALM Intelligence

ALM, an information and intelligence company, provides customers with critical news, data, analysis, marketing solutions and events to successfully manage the business of business.

ALM Intelligence supports legal, consulting, and benefits decision-makers seeking guidance on critical business challenges. Our proprietary market reports, rating guides, prospecting tools, surveys, and rankings inform and empower leaders, enabling them to proceed with confidence.


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