Spark and The Spark Institute Reorganized into One Association

January 5, 2012 ( – SPARK and The SPARK Institute were purchased from Robert Wuelfing and reorganized as a single non-profit, member-driven association.

Ten companies are funding the reorganization, and include: Ascensus, BlackRock, DST Retirement Solutions, Great-West Retirement Services, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Lincoln Financial Group, Prudential Retirement, SunGard and Wells Fargo & Company. The resulting entity will operate as The SPARK Institute.

“This reorganization is an important step in the evolution of The SPARK Institute,” said Jude Metcalfe, president of DST Retirement Solutions, and president of the new organization. “It provides the Institute with the structure and resources necessary to support a broader and more active public policy agenda, provide greater flexibility to increase partnerships with other non-profit advocacy and industry organizations, and assure the permanency of the association,” he said. 

Wuelfing, who will continue to serve as executive director of the organization, said, “Our basic mission remains the same as it has been for the last decade—to be the leading voice in Washington for the retirement services industry. In fact, the reorganization was motivated largely by the recognition that we are at a critical time in the evolution of the employer-based retirement system and there was a need for more resources to take The SPARK Institute to the next level as an advocacy organization.”

Metcalfe added, “We are now able to broaden our support of employer-sponsored retirement plans, continuing to develop strong positions and data that portray the value of the current system and the industry that makes it possible.” 

Wuelfing also noted the reorganization will not change the benefits for former SPARK and SPARK Institute members and that Larry Goldbrum, general counsel, and other staff will continue in their positions.