Rich and Co.

BrightScope-Leaks: Founder’s Email Threat In Response to Business Practice Questions on Social Media

We have posted many questions about the fundamental ethics of BrightScope’s business model and practices.  (See the quite odd email from a BrightScope founder below.)   For example,

  • How can old 5500 data be used to characterize current plan conditions?
  • Once plan conditions are misrepresented and widely publicized, e.g., by BrightScope’s “rankings” and “scores” what recourse do companies have to correct this widely marketed bad information?
  • Are advisors and the broker/dealers they are licensed under liable for communicating bad information in a professional setting?  Can they be sued?

In addition, BrightScope’s aggressive marketing and PR have made global negative claims about wrongdoing in the 401(k) system without evidence.  But that’s just typical sales tactics.

At their core, BrightScope seems persistently communicating inaccurate information.  The media is in the thrall of their provocative statements and headlines —- no questions asked.

In response to serious professional questions in online forums BrightScope Principals consistently avoid addressing any factual questions yet post angry, hyper-ventilating personal attacks on commentators.  We have also been the recipient of hostile emails, threats and online “stalking” of our sites and business.

The email below is the latest communications.  No doubt the hostile-personalized attacks by the firm’s Principals and executives is due to an inability to respond to pointed professional queries.

From: Matthew D. Hutcheson []
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:23 PM
Subject: BrightScope 

Dear Mr. Elmer,

Over the past year I have read several of your LinkedIn posts and various topics. 

As you know, I am a co-founder of BrightScope.  Recently you have made unsubstantiated accusations and criticisms of BrightScope’s intent, methods, and data accuracy.   

Your most recent comments were improper, incorrect, and uninformed.  BrightScope has done more good for American workers than you can imagine – and has been acclaimed by U.S. Congressmen as the most important development in the retirement plan industry since ERISA itself.  

Since your comments are based upon rumor, conjecture, and innuendo, I would strongly encourage you to refrain from future comments in any forum, public or private.  We have never met, but I will make it a point to meet with you in person to resolve this face-to-face if your comments continue. 


Matthew D. Hutcheson
Professional Independent Fiduciary
   Certified Pension Consultant
   Accredited Investment Fiduciary Anlyst ® 
   Enrolled to Practice before the IRS
Phone calls by appointment only (request)

Apparently freedom of speech is not a core value for BrightScope.


Written by Rich and Co.

March 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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