The SPARK Institute is trying to help retirement plan investment product providers and record keepers comply with new federal performance reporting rules that are set to take effect April 1, 2012.

SPARK, Simsbury, Conn. – a group that represents retirement services providers and investment mananagers – has completed initial work on the Data Layouts for Investment Related Retirement Plan Participant Disclosures project.

Retirement plan product and service providers can use the free data layout standards to help retirement plan sponsors and vendors supply the account performance data required by new U.S. Labor Department plan participant disclosure regulations.

The regulations will affect all types of plan investment providers, but SPARK developed the standards mainly for use by providers of products that are not registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), such as separately managed accounts and non-registered annuities. Those providers have had no standardized mechanism for transmitting the required information, SPARK says.

Although SPARK has completed initial work on the data layouts, it may tinker with the standards to address any technical questions that come up, SPARK says.

- Allison Bell

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