More than 80%
of respondents said they intend to adhere to the newest version of The SPARK
Institute’s Data Elements Information Sharing Best Practices (Version 1.04,
effective January 1, 2010). In addition, more than 60% of respondents said they planned to adhere to The
SPARK Institute’s latest best practices for sharing Remittance and Census Data
(Version RC 1.0, effective July 1, 2010). See SPARK Issues New 403(b) Info Sharing Best Practices for 2010.
Of those who said they do not intend to adhere to the
Institute’s Best Practices, 46% said it is due to limited technology resources
or other priorities. Twenty-three percent cited timing and 15% cited budget
Data Elements Best Practices help service providers share information with each
other and plan sponsors. The latest
changes to those Best Practices address a number of questions and comments we
received from users during 2009,” said Larry Goldbrum, general counsel, in a press release. Goldbrum also said
the new Remittance and Census Data Elements Best Practices were developed
because there was a significant need for a standardized way for employers to
provide remittance and employee census data to their vendors.
Industry experts say that it is important to have
standard formats for 403(b) data sharing, especially since many 403(b)s have
multiple vendors (see Experts Stress Benefits of Information Sharing Best Practices for 403(b)s).
was conducted to provide information that will help investment
providers, recordkeepers, and plan sponsors understand how their
counterparts are handling information sharing issues and challenges. “The results will also help The SPARK Institute to further enhance and
develop best practices and education sessions for the 403(b) plans community,”
was completed between October 14 and November 2 by 42 institutions, including
both SPARK Institute member and non-member companies.
Institute is currently developing guidelines to help employers and vendors of
multiple vendor ERISA-covered 403(b) plans gather information for the 2009 Form
A press release said the Institute intends to seek comments from non-members regarding these 5500 guidelines.
Other 403(b) guidelines from SPARK can be found at http://www.sparkinstitute.org/comments-and-materials.php.