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Press Release

The SPARK Institute Elects New Governing Board

Issued by SPARK Institute

Feb. 1, 2023

SIMSBURY, CT -- Today, the SPARK Institute announced its Governing Board elections. Kevin Collins, Head of Retirement Plan Services at T. Rowe Price, has been elected Chair and will succeed out-going Chair Ralph Ferraro, Head of Retirement Plan Services at Lincoln Financial.

“We are excited to welcome Kevin as our incoming Chair and deeply appreciate all the time and dedication Ralph has shown to the SPARK organization. During Ralph’s tenure as Chair that began in 2020, the SPARK Institute has achieved significant legislative and regulatory success – particularly with the passage of the most recent SECURE 2.0 Act.” said Tim Rouse, Executive Director of the SPARK Institute.

Incoming Chair Kevin Collins said “I have worked closely with Ralph over the years and appreciate the work he has done to help build the organization.  I am honored to now move into my new role as the Chair of the SPARK Governing Board and look forward to continuing SPARK’s tradition of advocacy for our industry.” Collins added “In September, SPARK’s Advisory Board voted to expand our mission to include promotion of financial literacy for all Americans.  I look forward to helping our organization take this and other challenges head on.”

Joseph Smolen, Senior Vice President of Core & Institutional Markets at Empower, has been elected Vice Chair and will support Collins in helping guide SPARK’s Governing Board. “I look forward to working with Kevin and contributing to the great work this organization does for our industry,” said Smolen.

The SPARK Institute is managed by a Governing Board of twelve firms represented by: Allspring Global Investments, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp, Ascensus, BlackRock, Corebridge, Empower, FIS Global, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Lincoln Financial Group, PGIM, SS&C, and T. Rowe Price.

For more information, please contact Tim Rouse at

About the SPARK Institute

The SPARK Institute represents the interests of a broad-based cross section of retirement plan service providers and investment managers, including members that are banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies, third-party administrators, trade clearing firms, and benefits consultants. Through the combined expertise of its member companies, the Institute provides research, education, testimony, and comments on pending legislative and regulatory issues to members of Congress and relevant Government agency officials. Collectively, its members serve approximately 100 million participants in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans.

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