The Best Employer 401(k) Plans

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The employees of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company and Southwest Airlines may be the target of 401(k) envy if they retire in the near future. Financial data company BrightScope lists those two companies as having the best 401(k) plans in the country based on BrightScope’s proprietary plan rating. Users can visit BrightScope’s website to check if their employer’s 401(k) plan is in the database. The rating takes into account company contributions, fees, investment menu quality, vesting schedules, eligibility periods and other criteria, from data filed Dec. 31, 2009.


The Best 401(k) Sponsor and Plan Names

1.    Saudi Arabian Oil Company (score: 93.01) The Savings Plan of Saudi Arabian Oil Company

2.    Southern California Permanente Medical Group (score: 89.96) Southern California Permanente Medical Group Retirement Plan

3.    Southwest Airlines Co. (score: 89.04) Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Retirement Savings Plan

4.    Amgen Inc. (score: 88.40) Amgen Retirement and Savings Plan

5.   United Air Lines, Inc. (score: 88.30) United Airlines Pilots’ Directed Account Plan

6.    Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC (score: 87.35) Employees Savings and Retirement Plan of Credit Suisse

7.    Bayer Corporation (score: 87.26) Bayer Corporation Savings and Retirement Plan

8.    BP Corporation North America Inc. (score: 86.99) BP Employee Savings Plan

9.    Nucor Corporation (score: 86.97) Nucor Corporation Profit Sharing and Retirement Savings Plan

10.    Avaya, Inc. (score: 86.88) Avaya, Inc. Savings Plan for Salaried Employees


With the tight economy, people may feel they do not have the flexibility to choose an employer based on the company’s 401(k) offerings. But with the job turnover these days, the good news is you may have some options with your 401(k) plans. And starting next spring the Department of Labor will require employers to present employees in 401(k) plans with charts showing the fees and returns for each investment.’s director of business development and strategy Ksenia Kouchnirenko recommends rolling that money into an IRA account, which may have less administrative fees and more investment flexibility.  Based on the site’s user preferences, Fidelity, Vanguard and TD Ameritrade are the top picked rollover institutions.  Kouchnirenko said institutions also offer a variety of targeted retirement funds, such as Vanguard’s all-in-one diversified retirement fund that offers automatic rebalancing, which targets to deliver toward a predefined retirement date.

With’s rollover center users can calculate potential savings on fees a consumer pays with a 401k and learn about IRA tax benefits. Users can also learn about other investment options including items such as CDs if one doesn’t want to get fully into the market, Kouchnirenko said.