The Other 1%: Judy Diamond Associates Analysis Reveals Top 1% of Plans Hold 71% of all 401(k) Assets Nationwide

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2015Judy Diamond Associates, a 401(k) intelligence provider, today released an analysis of the distribution of plan assets nationwide, revealing that the top 1% of 401(k) plans hold 71% of all 401(k) assets.

There were approximately 540,000 active 401(k) plans in Q4 of 2014*, with a collective $4.3 trillion in total assets. 71%, or about $3.06 trillion, was controlled by the top 1% (5,400 companies). In contrast, the other 99% (534,600 companies) of all 401(k) plans nationwide control only 29% of the total assets.

“These findings actually mirror our research from last year,” said Eric Ryles, Managing Director of Judy Diamond Associates. “Then, as now, 71% of the country’s 401(k) assets were in the hands of 1% of its employers. If you dial down even further, to just the top five hundred companies, the figures is still an enormous $1.9 trillion dollars. With a T.”

Ryles went on to say, “What’s so very interesting about this is that you’ve got 500 investment committees who are, essentially, dictating trends in retirement savings that can’t help but influence the rest of the market. That’s an enormous amount of influence concentrated in a very small number of hands.”

Although larger firms employ a greater population of the American workforce than small firms, the asset ratio is still significantly out of balance in favor of the large firms. The chart below shows that the top 1% of firms, by assets, provide retirement coverage to only 56% of those workers eligible for a 401(k) plan yet control 71% of the assets.


Plans By Assets By Volume By Participants
  $ % # % # %
Top 1% $3.06 Trillion 70.9% 5,400 1% 45,000,000 56%
Other 99% $1.25 Trillion 29.1% 534,000 99% 35,000,000 44%
All Plans $4.3T 100%      540k 100% 80,000,000 100%


*Judy Diamond Associates based this research on the most recently available 401(k) plan disclosure documents released by the U.S. Department of Labor. For this study, only active 401(k) plans with more than $3,000 in total plan assets were considered.





This plan data and further analysis are available in Judy Diamond Associates’ Retirement Plan Prospector database. Retirement Plan Prospector is an online sales prospecting and market analysis tool used by financial advisors and asset managers across the industry.

For more information about this research, please contact us at or follow us on Twitter @401kFacts.



Judy Diamond Associates is the premier provider of sales prospecting and plan analysis tools for benefits brokers, financial advisors, plan providers, and carriers serving the employee benefits and retirement markets. Judy Diamond Associates offers instant access to 5500 plan data and a broad suite of analytical tools designed to support the lead generation, relationship building, market research, and plan analysis needs of benefits and retirement professionals. Judy Diamond Associates’ business is built on a commitment to superb customer service and data integrity. We provide all of our customers with free training and access to our customer support hotline, 800-231-0669. Our team of data professionals is dedicated to ensuring our tools offer the most comprehensive, accurate and current data available.


Media Contact

Eric Ryles, Managing Director, Judy Diamond Associates

[email protected]



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