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Which Industry Has the Best 401(k) Plans? Advisors Make the Top 10

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(Related: 2019 401(k) Plan Benchmark Report)

The industries with the best 401(k) plans have a few similarities: many of them are “white collar” industries with positions that usually require postgraduate degrees for a significant portion of the workforce and employees that are compensated well.

Judy Diamond Associates, a business unit of ALM Media, the parent company of ThinkAdvisor, released its 401k Benchmark report, which tracks the overall performance of 401(k) plans by industry and size of company.

The goal of the report is to provide an objective, data-oriented view of different industries, how their collective 401(k) plans are performing, and how that compares to other industry groupings.

The report surveyed 27 industries in total. To calculate how these industries rank overall, Judy Diamond examined seven different metrics of plan performance: average account balance, participation rate, rate of return, employee contributions, employer contributions, plan score and employee longevity.

Each industry group was assigned its rank of 1-27 in each category based off the median overall industry value for each metric. The metrics were then collectively examined, and the industry with the best — or lowest — overall score was ranked No. 1.

For this report, Judy Diamond examined approximately 520,000 active 401(k) plans with at least $3,000 in plan assets and at least one active plan participant. This data comes from the 2017 plan year, and represents the most recent data available. These plans cover about 66 million eligible workers (of whom 45 million are actively participating) and about 14 million retirees who maintain a plan balance. In total, this equates to more than $5.3 trillion in assets.

The data for this report originated with the U.S. government’s Form 5500 ERISA disclosure form, a plan document that is a required filing for every 401(k) plan in the country with two or more participants.

Have a look at the gallery to see the top 10 industries for 401(k) plans.

(Check out the 2019 401(k) Plan Benchmark Report)

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