SPARK Institute Updates 403(b) Guide

October 29, 2008 ( - The SPARK Institute has released a new version of its "Best Practices for 403(b) Plans Information Sharing -- Minimum and Comprehensive Data Elements."

The Data Elements Best Practices document was modified from an earlier version (see  SPARK Addresses 403(b) Plan Info Sharing Technology ) due to a number of complicated and technical questions received from companies that are actively developing systems to follow the best practices, according to Larry Goldbrum, General Counsel.

The document is designed to help vendors and employers comply with new IRS regulations scheduled to take effect January 1, 2009, according to a press release.

10 New Questions

“Since the initial release of the Data Elements document in July, many vendors had begun making system changes to follow the Best Practices, and during that process several beneficial and technical changes were warranted and were added to the new version.”   Goldbrum said The SPARK Institute has been posting answers to many of the questions on its web site and has just added answers to ten new questions.

“Some of the most complicated questions that were raised related to reporting and calculating loan amount available data for information sharing purposes,” Goldbrum said.   “As a result, The SPARK Institute project team prepared examples that illustrate the best practices methodology for sharing available loan amount data.”  

Goldbrum said that the new document, “Best Practices for 403(b) Plans Information Sharing — Minimum and Comprehensive Data Elements Version 1.02,” and the Q&As are available on The SPARK Institute web site at .

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