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SPARK Posts Information-Sharing Guidance

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A retirement plan services group has published the final version of guidelines for exchanging 403(b) plan information.

The Spark Institute, Simsbury, Conn., has released Version 1.04 of the 403(b) Plans Information Sharing Data Elements Best Practices guide.

The guide, set to take effect Oct. 1, gives standards employers, employer representatives and vendors can use to exchange information about 403(b) retirement plans. The standards cover matters such as file layouts and update transmission frequency.

The institute is now saying that sharing data weekly, rather than monthly, is a best practice. The institute is not saying that sharing data daily is a best practice, but it describes procedures that parties can use to arrange for daily transmissions.

The guide does not make recommendations about data transmission methods or arrangements to share information about specific plan transactions or events, such as plan loans.

The original version of the guide was published in June 2009. A draft of the latest version appeared in January.

Allison Bell