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View More Press Releases by The SPARK Institute

Press release:

The SPARK Institute Releases New 403(b) Plans Best Practices Document, Announces Involvement Of DTCC In Information Sharing Effort

Issued by: The SPARK Institute

Date: July 14, 2008

SIMSBURY, CT, July 10 -- The SPARK Institute today released a new version of its "Best Practices for 403(b) Plans Information Sharing -- Minimum and Comprehensive Data Elements", to help vendors and employers comply with the new IRS regulations, said Larry Goldbrum, General Counsel.  The Data Elements Best Practices document was modified from an earlier version due to a number of significant developments, Goldbrum said.

Goldbrum said the first major development was the involvement of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), which initiated a project to directly support The SPARK Institute Data Elements Best Practices.  "DTCC is developing an information sharing service through its centralized data clearing infrastructure to facilitate the sharing of information among 403(b) plan vendors, including investment providers, and employer plan representatives such as third party administrators," Goldbrum said.  "The SPARK Institute and many of our members are working closely with DTCC to ensure that the their data requirements follow our Best Practices, while at the same time enabling non-DTCC users to share data directly.  In order to facilitate information sharing through DTCC however, changes and additions to the Best Practices were required," he said.

Goldbrum also noted that "many of our members had begun making system changes to follow the Best Practices, and during that process several beneficial and technical changes were identified and were added to the new version."  Goldbrum said that many of the leading 403(b) plan providers have now committed to follow The SPARK Institute's Best Practices, including: AIG, AXA Equitable, Diversified Investments, Fidelity, Great-West, The Hartford, ING, Lincoln Financial, Prudential and TIAA-CREF.  The Best Practices document is available at www.sparkinstitute.org/comments-and-materials.php.

Goldbrum said that several of the industry leaders that helped develop the Best Practices will be featured speakers at The SPARK Institute's two "403(b) Plans Issues and Answers Forums" this summer.  The Forums will provide employers, third party administrators, plan advisors, and others involved in 403(b) plans with an unmatched opportunity to gain insights from industry leaders that will help them understand, prepare for and capitalize on the opportunities created by new IRS regulations affecting these plans.  The Forums will be held on August 18-19 in Austin, TX at the Hyatt Regency and September 4-5 in Palm Beach Florida at the PGA National.  Complete information about the Forums is available online at www.sparkinstitute.org/403b-conference.php.

About The SPARK Institute
The SPARK Institute is the leading voice in Washington for the retirement services industry.  Through the combined expertise of its member companies, The SPARK Institute provides research, education, testimony and comments on pending legislative and regulatory issues to members of Congress and relevant government agency officials.  This disciplined process and resulting solutions help shape America's retirement future.

About DTCC
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation is the largest post-trade infrastructure organization in the world, settling more than $1.8 quadrillion in securities transactions annually through its subsidiaries.  It provides a network connection to almost 3,000 broker/dealers, banks, clearing firms, mutual funds, insurance companies, service providers and vendors.  DTCC is industry-owned by its customers who are members of the financial community.  It operates on an at-cost basis; its subsidiaries return excess revenue from transaction fees to their member firms.

View More Press Releases by The SPARK Institute

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