“We received feedback from our membership and others in the retirement plan community that spreadsheet templates of the Data Layouts would make it easier for, and increase the likelihood that, non-registered investment product providers would adopt the standards,” said Larry Goldbrum, general counsel. The data layouts were published in September (see SPARK Releases Final Data Standards for Fee Disclosures).
The availability of the spreadsheet templates adds another level of standardization to this process and makes it easier for companies who do not want to program for transmitting ASCII files to adopt the standards, Goldbrum said.
The Data Layouts are designed for use by non-registered investment product providers (e.g., bank collective investment funds, non-registered “fund of funds,” separately managed accounts and annuities) and recordkeepers to share information that retirement plan administrators must disclose to participants under the Department of Labor’s participant disclosure regulations. There are two templates, one for variable rate of return investments, employer securities and annuities and another for fixed rate of return investment products.The spreadsheet templates are substantively the same as the original narrative version of the layouts and are posted, along with instructions for their use, on The SPARK Institute website at http://www.sparkinstitute.org/comments-and-materials.php. They are available at no charge for use by anyone.