A group that represents large retirement services providers has come up with an idea for a new retirement plan design aimed at employers with fewer than 100 employees.

The SPARK Institute, Simsbury, Conn., says the new Universal Small Employer Retirement Savings Program plans, or USERSP plans, could address small employer concerns about cost and fiduciary liability.

A copy of the proposal is available here. http://www.sparkinstitute.org/comments-and-materials.php.

In the proposal, SPARK says the USERSP plans should include:

- Mandatory enrollment and contribution features.

- Contribution limits that are lower than for 401(k) plans but higher than for individual retirement accounts.

- Simplified investment option selection and fiduciary exposure rules.

- Freedom from discrimination testing.

- A ban on plan loans and tight limits on hardship withdrawals, to prevent savings leakage.

- Simplified Plan Documents.