In a letter, Larry Goldbrum, SPARK General Counsel, said the institute has created “Best Practices for Multiple Vendor Plans — Remittance and Census Data Elements Version RC1.0.” The new document replaces Part III of The SPARK Institute’s “Best Practices for Information Sharing.”
According to Goldbrum, as a result of this change and other comments and questions the Institute has received, a new version (1.04) of the Institute’s “Best Practices for 403(b) and Related Retirement Plans Information Sharing – Minimum and Comprehensive Data Elements” also has been issued. A third document, “Sample Files, Data Sharing Formats, and Coding “Pipe Delimited” Data,” which was created in response to numerous requests for sample file layouts, is also being released.
In order to facilitate an effective transition to the new version of the Best Practices, Version 1.04 will not become effective until January 1, 2010, the letter said. At that time, all previous versions of the Best Practices will become obsolete.
Additionally, the new Best Practices for Remittance and Census Data will not become effective until July 1, 2010, but both documents may be implemented prior to the effective dates if agreed upon by both sending and receiving parties.
Speakers for a Webinar sponsored by The SPARK Institute stressed the benefits of having a standard format for information sharing used by all in the 403(b) market (see Experts Stress Benefits of Information Sharing Best Practices ).
The new materials can be found at http://www.sparkinstitute.org/comments-and-materials.php .