The Spark Institute

What We Do

The SPARK Institute helps to shape national retirement policy by providing research, education, testimony and comments on pending legislative and regulatory issues to members of Congress and relevant government agency officials. Our members play a key role in identifying our priorities and in developing the positions we take on critical issues. The SPARK Institute Government Relations Committee ("GRC") and its various task forces provide opportunities for our members to become actively involved in developing and promoting regulatory and legislative policies that support their business goals and benefit the entire industry. Among our important goals is to develop practical solutions and industry standards for the efficient delivery of retirement benefits through the workplace. We meet regularly with representatives from regulatory agencies such as the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service and Securities and Exchange Commission, and have established ourselves as a credible source for practical and real world industry information.

Current Initiatives

Some of our current initiatives include:

  • Educating legislators, regulators and the media about the important and substantial benefits of employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • Addressing the challenge of improving the retirement readiness of any American workers.
  • Working with members and the Employee Benefit Research Institute to create a comprehensive database of information on the U.S. employer plan market.
  • Developing standardized audit guidelines for Form 5500 filings.

Best Practices and Other Industry Standards

The SPARK Institute develops and maintains best practices and industry standards, including:

  • Retirement plan and mutual fund industries fee disclosure issues, including DOL, SEC, GAO and Congressional reviews.
  • A retirement plan industry glossary of investment terms for participant disclosures.
  • Data layouts for lifetime income solutions in retirement plans. Data layouts for sharing non-registered investment product disclosure information.
  • An RFP Guide for plan sponsors covering the Corporate, Tax Exempt, Government and Taft-Hartley markets.