What Google And Brightscope Have In Common

Brightscope, a popular financial information company that rates 401(k) plans, has something in common with Google:  They both know the value of data that the rest of us are all to willing to give away without thought.

As a 401(k) adviser, I am always looking at different tools available to help plan sponsors benchmark and compare their plan costs.  Here is something I think people should understand about Brightscope:  In my first conversation with Brightscope I learned that I could pay Brightscope a fee, give them real time data on a 401(k) plan (that is not publicly available on Form 5500,) and Brightscope will provide interesting feedback.

In my second conversation with the folks at Brightscope, we talked about my firm buying prospecting information from them to help build my 401(k) advisory business.

In conclusion: 

  • I pay a fee and then give Brightscope valuable 401(k) data.
  • Brightscope provides me with useful feedback.
  • Brightscope turns around and sells my data to other people.

Is that a fair exchange – What do you think?