SPARK Conference Takeaways: Fiduciary Rule, Millennials and 401Ks

Each June, retirement industry professionals gather in Washington, D.C. at the SPARK National Conference to hear the latest buzz in the retirement industry and check-out the latest in product and service offerings from vendors.

One of the hottest topics in retirement this year is the pending “Conflict of Interest Rule” also known as the fiduciary rule. The hotly contested rule, which is pending at the Department of Labor, would define who is and isn’t considered a “fiduciary” of an employee benefit plan. This rule follows on the heels of the controversial Fee Disclosure rule which passed in late 2010 and is further evidence of the heightened scrutiny the retirement industry has been receiving from the federal government in recent years. As was discussed at the conference, much of this scrutiny stems from the growing reliance on the 401(k) as the primary retirement savings vehicle in the United States and such scrutiny is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.

While the 401(k) grows to be the dominant force in the retirement industry (both in terms of dollars and participants), much of the new participant growth is being driven by Gen X’ers and Millennials. With the growth in these demographic categories, the topic of electronic communications has continued to be front and center in conference sessions. Providers are searching for new ways to offer better online and mobile experiences, deliver communications electronically and determine what role social media will play in the industry. At this year’s SPARK National conference, vendors and plan administrators alike discussed emerging trends in electronic communications and what may be on the horizon. Venture is excited to be on the forefront of these electronic communications offerings and we invite you to contact us to learn more.

The next SPARK Institute conference event is the SPARK Forum which is held at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, November 8-10, 2015. The next SPARK National Conference will be held at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, D.C., June 19-21, 2016.

About the author

Strategic Solutions Director

Brian has nearly a decade of experience in the areas of marketing, business development and solution design/development for the transactional customer communications, retirement services and patient billing industries. As strategic solutions director, Brian identifies current and future client opportunities and works to help meet client needs through Venture’s data-driven products and services. Brian joined Venture Solutions in 2013 as marketing manager. Prior to joining Venture, Brian was serving as marketing director for SCICOM Data Services, which was acquired by Venture in 2013. Brian is involved with the Society of Professional Asset Managers and Record Keepers (SPARK), the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM).