SPARK Institute Releases New RFP Guide

The SPARK Institute Business Ideas Exchange Committee has released its new “RFP Guide for Selecting Defined Contribution Service Providers.”

The guide was developed with the aim of assisting advisers, consultants and plan sponsors in the important task of preparing and evaluating requests for proposal for 401(k) and other defined contribution retirement plans, according to an announcement from the committee.

The SPARK Institute originally issued an RFP guide in 1997 and made minor changes to it over the years. However, the most-recent guide incorporates a number of significant improvements, which include:

  • A change in orientation to make the guide suitable for use by an adviser or consultant assisting a plan sponsor, as well as for use by a plan sponsor directly;
  • Making it applicable for all sizes and types of defined contribution plans including 401(k), 403(b), 457 and profit sharing;
  • Expanding the amount of information required of organizations issuing an RFP so that responses can be more thorough and tailored to the specific plan;
  • Changes to account for the latest industry regulations, products, services and technologies; and
  • Incorporating a comprehensive SPARK glossary of investment-related terms.

The guide will continue to support the needs of employers providing defined contribution plans by enabling service providers to prepare consistent responses, resulting in reduced response time and more accurate evaluations, says the committee’s announcement.

Committee Chairman Eric Levy of Lincoln Financial Group oversaw the most-recent updating of the guide and the project was led by Cynthia Hayes of Oculus Partners, with assistance from San Asuti of Congruent Solutions, as well as the SPARK Government Relations Committee.

More information about the new guide is available on the SPARK Institute website at no cost to SPARK member firms and for $100 to all other organizations. An introduction and table of contents for the guide can be found here. To find out more about obtaining a copy of the full guide, contact 860-658-5058 or