January 27, 2014

12 Best & Worst Broker-Dealer 401(k) Plans: BrightScope

The advisors’ own 401(k) plans at some of these BDs are lacking, BrightScope ratings show

Being a financial advisor is all about helping other people make sure their money is invested wisely in a way that lasts through retirement (and beyond, for the sake of their heirs).

But who is making sure advisors are getting their retirement houses in order? There’s probably no group in a better position to prepare themselves than financial advisors, but even they might not be doing quite as well as they’d like by at least one measure.

ThinkAdvisor decided to look at where some of the big firms that provide financial advice stand when it comes to providing 401(k) benefits.

We turned to BrightScope to see how they stack up. BrightScope says on its website that its ratings are derived using more than 200 pieces of quantative data, like company contributions, fees, vesting schedules and eligibility periods. They run an algorithm that makes thousands of simulations for each 401(k) plan to determine how quickly each plan will get the average participant to retirement. The purpose of BrightScope's ratings, the company said, is to “assist industry participants in determining the relative quality of a company’s 401(k) plan when compared to a unique peer group of companies with employees of a similar demographic makeup.”

The top scoring firm in this group of 12 received an 85, the worst a 53. That compares to the best in the wider peer group, which scored a 90.

(Related story on ThinkAdvisor: 7 Hottest 401(k) Trends for 2014: Fidelity)

BrightScope also quantifies how much longer an employee would have to work to make up for the difference between their firm’s retirement plan and that of the best in the peer group. (BrightScope has a full accounting of its system on its website.)

Take a look at our 12 Best & Worst Broker-Dealer 401(k) Plans . 

Ronald Kruszewski, CEO of Stifel Financial.

12. STIFEL FIANCIAL

Rating: 53

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 20

Lost Savings: $212,600

Plan Assets: $25.8 million

Average Account Balance: $5,800

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan. (Photo: AP)

11. JPMORGAN

Rating: 71

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 12

Lost Savings: $132,600

Plan Assets: $16.4 billion

Average Account Balance: $57,000

Mark Casady, CEO of LPL Financial.

10. LPL FINANCIAL

Rating: 72

Highest in Peer Group: 93

Additional years of Work: 13

Lost Savings: $152,200

Plan Assets: $102 million

Average Account Balance: $31,000

Paul Reilly, CEO of Raymond James Financial.

9. RAYMOND JAMES

Rating: 73

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 11

Lost Savings: $99,800

Plan Assets: $375 million

Average Account Balance: $51,000

A screenshot of Ladenburg Thalmann's website.

8. LADENBURG THALMANN

Rating: 74

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 12

Lost Savings: $133,800

Plan Assets: $13.3 million

Average Account Balance: $58,000

James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley. (Photo: AP)

7. MORGAN STANLEY

Rating: 77

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 9

Lost Savings: $115,300

Plan Assets: $5.6 billion

Average Account Balance: $93,000

Average Account Balance: $62,000

John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo. (Photo: AP)

6. WELLS FARGO

Rating: 78

Highest in Peer Group: 91

Additional years of Work: 9

Lost Savings: $40,900

Plan Assets: $27.8 billion

Average Account Balance: $91,000

Jim Cracchiolo, CEO of Amerprise Financial.

5. (tie) AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL

Rating: 79

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 9

Lost Savings: $51,900

Plan Assets: $1.19 billion

Average Account Balance: $96,000

Michael Corbatt, CEO of Citigroup. (Photo: AP)

5. (tie) CITIGROUP

Rating: 79

Highest in Peer Group: 88

Additional years of Work: 5

Lost Savings: $96,300

Plan Assets: $9.1 billion

Sergio Ermotti, CEO of UBS. (Photo: AP)

3. UBS

Rating: 83

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 6

Lost Savings: $49,000

Plan Assets: $2.2 billion

Average Account Balance: $110,000

Merrill Lynch headquarters. (Photo: AP)

2. MERRILL LYNCH

Rating: 84

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 5

Lost Savings: $26,500

Plan Assets: $6.9 billion

Average Account Balance: $150,000

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs. (Photo: AP)

1. GOLDMAN SACHS

Rating: 85

Highest in Peer Group: 90

Additional years of Work: 4

Lost Savings: $85,700

Plan Assets: $5.2 billion

Average Account Balance: $180,000

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