SPARK Forum 2017


Sunday, November 5, 2017

8:00 am Golf Tournament

1:00 – 6:00 pm Exhibitor Setup

1:00 – 6:00 pm Conference Registration –

6:00 – 8:00 pm Welcome Reception with Exhibitors –

8:00 – 10:00 pm Dessert Reception –

Monday, November 6, 2017

7:00 am – 5:00 pm Conference Registration –

7:00 – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors –

8:00 – 8:10 am Welcome & Opening Remarks

Tim Rouse, Executive Director, SPARK Institute

8:10 – 9:00 am Keynote Address – Retirement Security: An Inflection Point

Joe Ready, Executive Vice President and Director, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust

There are a number of significant forces contributing to the evolution of retirement security in the United States today. In his keynote, Joe Ready discusses these forces and how they are driving the retirement industry to an inflection point, where the 401k industry will dramatically change and rise to new heights, or continue with the status quo which could cause millions of Americans to fall short of their retirement security goals.

9:00 – 9:50 am The New Normal

Cynthia Hayes, President, Oculus Partners, LLC

Cynthia will focus on the business trends and issues that are driving providers to go beyond what’s been asked of them in the past. Retirement providers who will thrive in the future have new hurdles to clear in defining and delivering their solutions, new areas of business investment to fund, and new ways of interacting with customers to master. Cynthia will discuss what is needed to survive and thrive as a provider as we approach 2020.

9:50 – 10:20 am Break with Exhibitors –

10:20 – 11:10 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – What is that Anchor Plan Sponsors Need in their Core Menu?

Philip Chao, Principal & CIO, Chao & Company, Ltd (moderator)
Matthew Brenner, Managing Vice President, Investments, ICMA-RC
Matt Vanaman, Vice President, External Advisor Consultant, PIMCO

Since the financial repression that was initiated during the Global Financial Crisis by central banks globally, interest rate on safe assets have been low to non-existent. Now with normalization, one outcome (“Rate Rise Scenario”) in 2018 and beyond could be the “burst of the bond bubble” scenario. Liquidity could drain from the system, and could lead to significant losses in bonds. Another outcome (“Low Rate Scenario”) would be for rates to remain in historically low levels since keeping rates low could spur economic activities.
In a rate rising or normalizing environment, core bonds tend to underperform. This tension between safety and generating return will be a delicate balancing act as rates and monetary policy normalizes. So what investment options should be made available under a Plan? What is that core investment option that would anchor the portfolio during risk off events? Is stable value the right answer or should it be a money market option or a short-term fixed income option? This panel will dive into these and other questions to help you think about a necessary and important conversation regarding fixed income and stability with your plan sponsors.

SESSION B – Driving Participant Readiness for Better Retirement Outcomes

Keith Sykes, Director of Digital Products, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust
Andrew Way, Senior Analyst Retirement, Corporate Insight
Lisa Weil, Head of Digital Customer Experience, TIAA

Plan providers play an important role in helping participants improve their retirement readiness. Over the last several years, DC providers have invested heavily in their online platforms by adding better tools, more resources, and improved usability. In this session, Andrew Way will lead a discussion that highlights best practices from leading DC providers on the participant and plan sponsor websites geared toward improving participant engagement and generating better outcomes. Drawing from recent survey work and other research, Andrew will discuss current trends and how they may influence future enhancements meant to further the industry’s ability to generate better retirement outcomes for participants.

SESSION C – Cyber: Getting to Grips with a Complex Risk

Darren Pain, Senior Economist, Swiss Re

Increasingly, the costs of a cyber breach extend beyond managing the fallout of lost or corrupted data to potential damage to a firm’s reputation and physical property, and disruption to business operations. A dedicated cyber insurance market is developing rapidly, with many insurers looking to enter. However, cyber risks are complex to understand and quantify and currently the scale and scope of insurance cover relative to potential exposure is modest. Product and process innovation will help foster improved cyber insurance solutions and extend available cover. Innovations include common standards for capturing, sharing and reporting data about cyber incidents, and greater use of smart analytics to improve threat detection and risk assessment.

11:10 – 11:30 am SPARK Advisor Award Winners Announced

Tim Rouse, Executive Director, SPARK Institute

11:30 – 12:20 pm Smart Retirement Income Strategies to Keep Assets in DC Plans

William Meyer, Founder & CEO, Retiree Income

After more than a decade of research, William Meyer and Dr. William Reichenstein have proven there is a better way to assist plan participants and retirees in creating and implementing savings withdrawal strategies. Their research shows a smart drawdown plan can extend the life of the portfolio by up to seven years. This industry-changing research can now be leveraged by plan sponsors through a solution for individual participants. Join this session to learn more about the significant positive impact holistic retirement income planning can have on your employees and company. Session will address the following topics: Why current best practices in retirement planning don’t work, Why research tells us this methodology for retirement planning is better, and real results and feedback from retirees who have used this methodology.

12:20 – 1:10 pmLunch –

Dr. Raul E. Hernandez, Chief Services Officer, City of Miami
Janet Shaw, Program Director, Encore Fellowship Network
Kevin Vericker, Encore Fellow Services Officer, City of Miami

While many see our aging society as a problem, Encore sees an opportunity to share knowledge. Those in and beyond midlife represent a powerful source of talent with their accumulated skills, experience and wisdom to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. By connecting this talent with community non-profits, foundations and other social institutions, we can create a better future for generations to come. Hear from Janet Shaw about the Encore Fellowships Network and why sponsoring Fellowships as a retirement benefit is good for the corporation, employees and the community. She will be joined by Encore Fellow, Kevin Vericker, supported by IBM to do work in the community and Raul Hernandez, who will share their stories and benefits of being and hosting an Encore Fellow.

1:10 – 2:00 pm Digital Transformation: Efficient Delivery of a Brand Promise

Daniel Cross, Vice President, DST

As technology continues to rapidly evolve and participant expectations increase, how can you transform your digital back office to obtain a strategic advantage over your competition while complying with growing fiduciary and regulatory obligations? Plan participants have come to expect a certain experience and level of interaction in their daily lives, including account information, education and intelligent planning in one digital location. This session will discuss the digital trends in the industry, how intelligent analytics and experience-driven technology can provide the platform for the efficient delivery of a brand promise. Discussions will include how digital integration can streamline the way that propositions are delivered, allowing organizations to move into new markets and reduce friction across their ecosystem of partners, customers, regulators and stakeholders.

2:00 – 2:30 am Break with Exhibitors –

2:30 – 3:20 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Financial Wellness: Is it a Benefit du Jour or a Game Changer?

Greg Iacurci, Reporter, InvestmentNews (moderator)
Brandon Bellin, Director & Actuary, Retirement Plans, Securian Retirement
Michael Kozemchak, Managing Director, Institutional Investment Consulting (IIC)
Snezana Zlatar, SVP Full Service Solutions Product & Pricing, Prudential Retirement

Survey after survey suggests that employees are stressed about their finances and that employees’ financial literacy is poor and many employees’ financial health are fair at best. 401(k) advisors and recordkeepers have taken on financial wellness as an added benefit that plan sponsor most likely want and need and should be integrated with retirement plan education/guidance.
In this session, three panel members who are currently providing financial wellness as a service to their platforms will address how advisors should understand the value of financial wellness and if they should rely on recordkeepers to offer this non-fiduciary service. If 401(k) education has basically failed to make employees better savers let alone better investors, what makes financial wellness providers think that this time it is different? Are there differences among financial wellness providers and their services or effectiveness? How do we measure success or effectiveness as an advisor? Does financial wellness belong in a retirement plan framework or a health & welfare framework?

SESSION B – The Case for Robotic Automation in Retirement

Russell Fernandez, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting
Scott Parker, Principal, Deloitte Consulting
Dan Rosshirt, Principal, Deloitte Consulting

As the retirement industry continues to be challenged with tight margins and high operating cost, many providers are seeking technology solutions to reduce cost and improve efficiencies as well as to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and Cognitive solutions are actively being explored and implemented to address immediate pain points, while also being leveraged to support longer term business and technology transformations. Deloitte believes with full deployment of RPA across the Retirement Value Chain, potential cost take-out opportunity of 15% – 20% can be achieved. RPA and Cognitive solutions are also enabling new opportunities and potential revenue streams for wealth and retirement organizations by providing a low cost, highly scalable operating model to achieve strategic objectives.

SESSION C – How Blockchain Technology is Changing Our View of Cyber Security

Adrien Vanderlinden, Executive Director, DTCC

The future looks bright for blockchain-based security platforms. So in this session you will hear from experts on how the blockchain addresses some fundamental flaws in security and how blockchain differs from cryptocurrencies. New blockchain technologies are emerging that will offer more promise in terms of extensibility and robustness, especially in the field of security.

3:20 – 4:10 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Aligning Cross-Functional Efforts to Drive Customer Engagement

Steve Mitchell, Managing Consultant, BridgePoint Group (moderator)
Teresa Hassara, Head of Workplace Solutions, MassMutual
Venkata Natarajan, Chief Information Officer, Prudential Retirement
James Nichols IV, Head of Customer Solutions Group, Voya

In an effort to more effectively compete in maturing markets, many financial services providers are developing stronger customer engagement strategies. They are transitioning from an individual product orientation to broader customer solutions that span across product lines. Please join BridgePoint as we convene a panel of industry peers to discuss how aligning cross-functional efforts has been critical to their success. From establishing the strategy, managing the competing priorities of customer experience and cost, and recognizing the increasing role of data, the group will discuss their challenges and lessons learned.

SESSION B – Providing Easier Access To Retirement Savings Solutions In The Workplace

Ken Burtnick, Senior Product Manager, Paychex, Inc.
Peter Cariola, Vice President, Retirement Services, Millennium Trust Company
Terry Dunne, SVP, Managing Director, Retirement Services, Millennium Trust Company
Bob Kunimura, Chief Technology Officer, Millennium Trust Company

With more than 50% of private sector employees lacking access to workplace savings solutions, local and state governments continue to take matters into their own hands by proposing and implementing mandatory coverage requirements. In the small business market, significant demand is building for workplace retirement plans in response to anticipated mandated coverage requirements. This panel discussion will explore an innovative, efficient and scalable retirement solution that is being implemented to provide easier access to retirement savings solutions in the workplace.

SESSION C – Evaluating Your Recordkeeping Platform: Are You Well Positioned for Future Business Success?

Jeff Evers, Principal Consultant, Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.
Lauren Leneis, Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.
Tim Scott, Delivery Partner, Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.

In today’s environment with heightened regulatory and fiduciary pressures and increasing fee compression, do you perform regular due diligence on your recordkeeping platform? How does it compare to best-in-class competitors? With new platforms and modules available for recordkeepers, does your platform offer the flexibility and scalability that your business requires? If not, should you buy or build market leading functionality? Join experts from Enterprise Iron, as they explore these questions and other relevant topics of interest.

4:10 – 5:00 pm Is Managed Account the Death of Target Date Funds?

Philip Chao, Principal & CIO, Chao & Company, Ltd. (moderator)
Aram Boornazian, Director, Great-West Investments
Daniel Bruns, Senior Product Specialist Morningstar
Tom Conlon, Head of Relationship Management, Betterment

The dominance of target date funds and the rise of robo investing are running into each other at full steam. This session introduces three providers offering robo managed accounts as default options, instead of an opt-in, options across their custodial platforms for plan sponsors. We will discuss the motivation for their entry into this space, their rationale, their solutions and what they see as the future. Is this the beginning of the end of TDF dominance? Is this the ultimate personalization and individualization for retirement investing? What are the push backs and detractors? Is this a friend or a foe to advisors? What should advisors be thinking and asking about?

5:00 – 7:00 pm Reception with Exhibitors –

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

7:00 – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors –

8:00 – 8:10 am Opening Remarks

Tim Rouse, Executive Director, SPARK Institute

8:10 – 9:00 am Largest DC Plan Shares its Goals & Vision

Michael Saether, Account Executive, FIS (moderator)
Jim Courtney, Director, Education & Communication, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
Ravindra Deo, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

The Federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) with almost $500 billion in assets and more than five million participants is easily the largest single defined contribution (DC) plan in the United States. In this session, you will hear from the new Executive Director, Ravindra Deo and their vision for the future of the TSP and goals they have for established for new levels of service and innovation.

9:10 – 10:00 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – The BICE: How Do Advisors & Plan Sponsors Meet their Monitoring Duties?

Karen Scheffler, SVP and Senior ERISA Council, AllianceBernstein (moderator)
David Levine, Principal, Groom Law Group, Chartered
Todd Levy, Chief Investment Officer, Ingham Retirement Group
Moira Meehan, Senior Director, Participant Services, TIAA

The new fiduciary definition became applicable on June 10, 2017. The Department of Labor (DOL) established a phased implementation period from June 9, 2017, until July 1, 2019, during which the Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE) is available, subject to the impartial conduct standards only.

In the phased implementation period the DOL will not pursue claims against fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule and BICE. During the Temporary Enforcement Policy, plan fiduciaries still have the duty to monitor and to make sure that the service provider is meeting the impartial conduct standard when the provider delivers distribution and investment advice.

In this session, recordkeeper-custodians will share their decision process regarding participant-level fiduciary service and the tools or process that are available for plan fiduciaries to monitor or audit them. A legal/ERISA expert will also be on the panel to offer best fiduciary monitoring practices. Among the questions answered are: What should advisors be telling their plan sponsors regarding their duty to monitor under the new Fiduciary Rule? If the recordkeeper does not offer distribution advice, what alternatives do advisors have? What are the impartial conduct standards and how would a plan fiduciary monitor these standards be met, or not? Should advisors charge additional fees for this service? Will auditors take this duty on in the future?

SESSION B – What is the Future Role of the Plan Advisor, a view from BrightScope

Philip Chao, Principal and CIO, Chao & Company, Ltd.
Mike Alfred, Managing Director, BrightScope

After successfully made plan data accessible and usable to plan sponsors and advisers, Brightscope has been in the leading edge of transparency and open government in the retirement plan industry. The future will continue to be about Big Data and algorithm. Will robo plan adviser armed with such data and tools replace the basic functions of a human adviser? Mike Alfred, co-founder of Brightscope, will discuss his view regarding the future role of a plan adviser and what Brightscope is working on and thinking about. Join Philip Chao for a fire side chat with Mike and get you think about your business and your service.

SESSION C – Third Party Risk Management

Pete Naumovski, CISO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Michael Parisi, VP of Assurance Strategy and Community Development, HiTrust
Dennis Quandt, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers

With the necessary use of third parties to support business functions, organizations are increasingly faced with the challenge of needing to ensure these third parties have and maintain an appropriate information security posture. Additionally associations that have member organizations are taking on the responsibility to monitor their member organizations relative to their information security governance to ensure that they are meeting a minimum level of internal control. The cost of creating and maintaining a third party risk management program can be significant without leveraging assurance reporting from third parties that provides the appropriate level of transparency and coverage that allows for organizations to understand what level of residual risk may exist by engaging with certain third parties. Hear from industry experts on how these challenges have been addressed by organizations across multiple industries and associations.

10:00 – 10:30 pm Break with Exhibitors –

10:30 – 10:50 pm Break / Check Out

10:50 – 11:40 am Are we ready for Income Distribution at Retirement?

Philip Chao, Principal & CIO, Chao & Company, Ltd (moderator)
Stacey Ganina, Vice President, Defined Contribution Investment Strategy, BlackRock
Doug McIntosh, VP, Investments, Prudential Retirement
Bransby Whitton, Executive Vice President & Product Strategist, PIMCO

With Baby Boomers retiring or leaving the work force at the rate of 10,000 per day, generating income to sustain them during retirement remains a mystery. The fiduciary rule, among other Obama Administration era DOL agenda items, has been favoring participants to leave their vested assets in-plan. The idea is that in-plan offers lower expenses, fiduciary oversight and avoidance of potential conflicts. This may be true but plan sponsors have not been embracing this approach and thus embracing post retirement distribution solutions.

Three panelists will discuss their thoughts of post retirement income solutions. A host of questions will be addressed, including: Why the current solutions have not been wildly popular? Would the future be dominated by annuity payouts which provide outcome certainty but may be deficient to keep up with inflation? Would the income be generated by asset managers creating managed distribution solutions without a guarantee? How do the solution manufacturers think that their solutions would be meaningfully adopted? Would solutions be portable so they will be functioning in-plan and in-IRA?

11:40 – 12:30 pm Legislative & Regulatory Update

Chris Gaston, Senior Policy Director, Davis & Harman LLP
Mike Hadley, Partner, Davis & Harman LLP

Davis & Harman LLP, The SPARK Institute’s outside counsel, will provide an up-to-the-minute update on activities in Congress including breaking retirement policy developments.