NTSAA Calls for Help in Developing 403(b) Data Standards

The National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association (NTSAA) is establishing a working group to devise data standards that will enable information about 403(b) plan transactions to be provided to plan sponsors and administrators, as necessitated by recent IRS regulations.

Teresa Ward, Vice President of OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. (an NTSAA Industry Partner), and Chuck Yanikoski, President of Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc., will co-chair the project, according to the announcement.

“There is clearly a need for it, because the new regulations require plan sponsors or their designates to collect transaction information from every product provider, to assure compliance. This will be a very difficult task, subject to high error rates, if a uniform method is not created,” said Renée Wilder, Executive Director of NTSAA, in the announcement.

Wilder explained there will be both a working group, to devise the standards, and a review group. She said NTSAA would like representatives from different kinds of firms to volunteer so all major segments of the industry are represented.

Yanikoski said the goal is to deliver standards by the end of March 2008. He said they hope product providers, broker/dealers, third-party administrators, marketing organizations and plan sponsors will adapt to the standards, although they will not be enforceable in any tangible way.

“We do expect that organizations failing to adopt them will have a much harder time of it when the new regulations go into effect, a little over a year from now,” Yanikoski said, in the announcement. New 403(b) regulations are generally effective with the 2009 plan year (See Final 403(b) Regulations Released).

Individuals who would like to participate in the project or would like to be kept apprised of its progress should contact Chuck Yanikoski, by phone at 978-456-7971 or by email at csy@StillRiverRetire.com.