BrightScope – Ratings for 401K Plans

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brightscope-logoBrightScope, based in San Diego, California, launched their ratings website in January of this year, providing independent analysis and 401k ratings to all fifty states.  The BrightScope Rating is the nation’s first online 401k rating system.

Since then, they’ve been perfecting the data stream and building a base of users.  Earlier this month, they received $2 million in Series B funding.  That was lead by an angel investment by Jim Caccavo’s Steelpoint Capital Partners.  Several hedge funds and private equity firms made up the rest of the investment group.

Formerly the CEO of, Caccavo now joins BrightScope’s Board of Directors, bringing Tim Tokarsky (formerly of WysDM) with him to the Board.

In surveys done in 2008, it was found that many employees and workers who qualify to participate in company 401k plans don’t.  In fact, only 30% of those who are eligible participate and of those, only 8% contribute enough to receive full company matching.  Those surveyed listed distrust in the investment and 401k plan as their primary reason for not contributing or for contributing very little.

BrightScope hopes to change those participation numbers by empowering employees and retirement investors with information so they can feel more confident about the contributions they make to their 401k plans.

Analytics at the BrightScope website show everything about plans including their projected solidity in the market, past performance numbers, cost of management versus actual investment, and more.  Basically, BrightScope is full disclosure for 401k investments.

To use BrightScope, all you need to do is go to the site, search for your company’s name (a helpful list of suggested corporate monikers appears as you type).  The company’s 401k plan is then shown along with common metrics on a chart.  You can click on most aspects to get a little more information, but for the most part, everything you really need to know is presented right away.

This is definitely a useful and much-needed service.

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