Spark updates RFP guide News added by Benefits Pro on June 4, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Nick Thornton

A new guide is available to assist advisors, consultants and plan sponsors in preparing and evaluating requests for proposals for 401(k) and other defined contribution retirement plans.

Published by the Spark Institute, which represents the interests of the retirement services industry, the “RFP Guide for Selecting Defined Contribution Service Providers” was first issued in 1997.

The latest edition includes changes that affect how plan sponsors go about the process of selecting outside consultants and administrators. Among other things, the guide is designed to allow service providers to better prepare consistent responses to RFPs.

A review of regulatory updates is included, as is a brief on technological tools that can benefit sponsors’ ability to communicate with enrollees, and new services and products applicable for all sizes and types of defined contribution plans.

“This new edition will continue to support the needs of employers providing defined contribution plans by enabling service providers to prepared consistent responses, resulting in reduced response time and more accurate evaluations,” said Eric Levy, head of product management for Lincoln Financial Group’s Retirement Plan Services and a vice president of the SPARK Institute.

According to a Fidelity survey of plan sponsors, there are an estimated 700,000 defined contribution plans, and about 175,000 currently don’t use an outside advisory firm. Approximately 17 percent of plans with assets over $50 million do not use outside advisory services.

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