At the end of 2012, the first full year after Vanguard began its small-business Retirement Plan Access program, or VRPA, the iconic mutual fund company and recordkeeper was servicing 445 plans representing roughly 16,500 participants with a total of $830 million in plan assets.

Designed to service 401(k) plans with up to $20 million in assets, the program saw prolific growth in the ensuing three years. By the end of 2015, VRPA included 4,452 plans representing more than 199,000 participants with a total of $10.4 billion in plan assets.

Average plan assets increased from $1.9 million to $2.3 million in that time, with the average number of participants increasing from 37 to 45.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.