The Spark Institute
SHAPING AMERICA'S RETIREMENT


SPARK INSTITUTE COMMITTEES

SPARK committees provide discussion forums, educational and networking opportunities, and the chance to lend your voice to guide our retirement agenda. Committee involvement helps professionals to keep up with industry issues and engage with peers.

Our issue-specific committees provide members with opportunities to discuss emerging industry issues, network with peers and learn from other industry experts. Groups generally meet monthly or quarterly and are included in SPARK Institute membership dues, unless otherwise noted.

Consider becoming involved. For more information on participation, contact Marlene Jung at marlene@sparkinstitute.org

Government Relations Committee (GRC)

Purpose: One of SPARK's most active committees, it allows members to share their views on legislative and regulatory issues and shape The SPARK Institute's Washington agenda. The GRC also provides vital education assistance to members with regular updates on legislative and regulatory topics.

Time commitment:

  • Monthly committee meetings (by phone): one hour 
  • Two in person meetings a year, following each SPARK conference

Qualifications: If your organization holds an Advisory Board Level membership with The SPARK Institute, anyone from your company can participate.

 


 

Public Relations Committee

Purpose: The SPARK Public Relations Committee seeks to implement and promote the retirement plan market principals and legislative initiatives established by the SPARK Advisory Board. These principals are intended to highlight the value defined contribution plans offer to our society in providing a secure retirement for millions of American workers and their families. Ideally, these principals will form the basis of policymakers’ decisions when determining changes to laws and regulations effecting retirement savings. These principals will be disseminated to legislators, regulators, press and other associations for consideration in the development of more formal laws and regulations.

Time commitment:

  • Monthly committee meetings (by phone): half hour 
  • Two in person meetings a year, following each SPARK conference

Qualifications: If your organization holds an Advisory Board Level membership with The SPARK Institute, anyone from your company can participate.

 


 

Business Ideas & Exchange Committee

The Ideas & Exchange committee is responsible for identifying new trends, products and services for the DC Plan market. This group helps bring these ideas to members through agenda topics for the annual SPARK National Conference and Forum. The topics for this committee change regularly based on emerging trends and member’s needs. Recent projects included:

  • The 403(b) standard file format for data sharing
  • The Broker Dealer file format to address the new Fiduciary Regulations

Time commitment: 

  • Quarterly committee meetings (by phone): one hour

Qualifications: If your organization holds an Advisory Board Level membership with The SPARK Institute, anyone from your company can participate.

 


 

Data Security Oversight Board

This newly formed oversight board has been established to address growing concerns over cybercrime. The role of the board will be to establish uniform standards for recordkeepers and to select an agent to monitor compliance.

The agent will oversee certification of SPARK member organizations to ensure they meet established criterion. Member firms can use the certification when responding to plan sponsor consultant RFPs.

Time commitment:

  • Monthly committee meetings at minimum
  • This working committee may meet more frequently to address specific issues

Qualifications: Board participation is open to all industry members and plan sponsor consultants.

 


 

Conference Committee 

The Conference Committee assists SPARK in identifying topics and speakers for the SPARK National Conference and the SPARK Forum. Sub-groups within this committee include:

  1. Investment Roundtable Sub-Group - the investment group helps to identify investment trends in DC Plan Administration and drive topics for discussion.
  2. Data Security Sub-Group - this sub-group helps to identify topics and trends related to cyber security.
  3. Operations & Products - this sub-group helps to identify trends associated with industry efficiencies and new product offerings.

Time commitment:

  • Quarterly committe meetings (by phone): half hour

Qualifications: If your organization holds an Advisory Board Level membership with The SPARK Institute, anyone from your company can participate.

 


 

Certification Committee

We offer two designations for individuals who engage with plan sponsor clients and participants:
  • Accredited Retirement Plan Specialist (ARPS) – for record keeping and client services personnel
  • Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant (ARPC) – for plan sales and marketing staff

This committee is responsible for the development, evaluation and administration of all certification program policies, procedures and activities.

Time commitment:

  • Quarterly committee meetings (by phone): one hour

Qualifications: If your organization holds an Advisory Board Level membership with The SPARK Institute, anyone from your company that holds a valid designation may participate.