SPARK Forum 2021

Event begins at 8AM with a scramble golf tournament on Sunday, November 7th. Conference formally kicks off with a cocktail reception from 6-8PM, followed by networking with a special guest at The Breakers Beach Club from 8-10PM.

Sessions begin on Monday at 8AM, after a 7AM continental breakfast with exhibitors. Event continues with a cocktail reception from 5-7PM, followed by an after-hours cigar social at 9PM at The Breakers Beach Club.

Sessions continue on Tuesday and conclude at 1PM on November 9th.

Detailed Agenda – Sponsored by TCS

Sunday, November 7, 2021

8:00 am – 5:00 pm Golf Tournament – – Golf Clubhouse

1:00 – 6:00 pm Exhibitor Setup – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

1:00 – 6:00 pm Conference Registration – South Loggia East

6:00 – 8:00 pm Reception with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

8:00 – 10:00 pm After Hours Networking – – Beach Club

Monday, November 8, 2021

7:00 am – 5:00 pm Conference Registration – South Loggia East

7:00 – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

8:00 – 8:10 am Opening Remarks – Venetian Ballroom

Tim Rouse, SPARK Institute, Inc.

8:10 – 9:00 am Scale for the Future: Delivering Greater Outcomes – Venetian Ballroom

Charlie Nelson, Voya
Peter Demmer, Sterling Resources
Charlie and Peter will provide some perspective on scale – what it truly means and how it can best be leveraged, as well as talk about new trends due to shifting employer and plan participant demands of traditional record keepers, particularly as employee financial wellness needs are changing and increasing in a post-COVID world.

9:00 – 9:50 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Intermediary Consolidation: What are the Ramifications?

Philip Chao, Experiential Wealth (moderator)
Jamie Bentley, PIMCO
Dick Darian, Wise Rhino Group
Another year, another record for plan advisors and RIAs getting acquired, with the expectation of more to come. With cheap capital and PE awash in cash, the old financial intermediary space is changing rapidly. The DC plan industry is primarily serviced and advised by intermediaries, asset managers, recordkeepers, and tool/FinTech providers. As such, they will all have to review their distribution and cooperation strategies to sell, respond and service under this quickly evolving market place. One thing is clear, many if not most of the consolidated advisors and RIAs no longer can make product or service decisions. We will have a lively discussion about the changing present and what the future holds for service and distribution.

SESSION B – Incorporating ESG Funds & Investment in DC Product Lineup

Judy Nelson, TCS (moderator)
Molly Henning, BlackRock
Lazaro Tiant, Schroder Investment Management, North America
Retirement Plan Sponsors are increasingly evaluating the opportunity to incorporate sustainable investments and investment options into their product lineup. These products and investments go well beyond the traditional investments and incorporate personal values and beliefs into a participants investment strategies and behavior. This panel will discuss introducing ESG products into the fund lineup and share data and results of a recent industry study on expectations and performance.

9:50 – 10:20 am Break with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

10:20 – 11:10 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Outcome Oriented Plan Design

Steve Gordon, AndCo (moderator)
Marc Howell, Prudential Retirement
Doug McIntosh, Prudential Retirement
David Nocera, Prudential Retirement
Crafting a defined contribution plan to ensure positive participant outcomes is far more nuanced than ensuring that the fund lineup meets or beats its benchmarks. Join this panel of experts as they examine a success model through the lens of behavioral finance, starting with the intellectual rigor of a defined benefit approach and putting decades of experience with real sponsors and participants to work in crafting quantifiably better DC plans.

SESSION B – Is Your 401k A Savings Plan or Retirement Plan?

Brendan McCarthy, Nuveen
Kevin Murphy, Franklin Templeton
Christopher O’Neill, Mesirow
Mike Westhoven, TIAA
How personalization and guaranteed income are transforming your 401k from a tax preferential savings plan into a retirement income plan. Recent legislative changes and technological advancements are evolving the 401k plan from serving as a retirement savings plan to a retirement income. Industry experts will talk about how recordkeepers can incorporate the latest managed account technology and guaranteed income in order to enhance their 401k plan design from that of a retirement savings vehicle to a retirement income provider.

11:10 am – 12:00 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Platform Modernization

Tim Scott, Enterprise Iron (moderator)
Tom Brunner, SS&C Technologies
Will Gregory, Fidelity Investments, Workplace Investing
Chandrasekaran Vaidyanathan, Congruent
Sangy Vatsa, FIS
Many of today’s recordkeeping platforms are built on older technologies. Recently, two of the primary recordkeeping system providers have announced plans to modernize their platforms. What does that mean for the industry? What about other platforms that have emerged in recent years? And what about those recordkeepers who have proprietary platforms? What does the technology future look like in the recordkeeping industry? Modernization Strategies (Entire platform vs. Modular approach) / COBOL at the core / Moving to the Cloud / Addressing the concerns of Cybersecurity

SESSION B – Personalization: Everyone Deserves it, How Do We Deliver it?

Angela Achatz, Putnam Investments (moderator)
Yaqub Ahmed, Franklin Templeton
James Liberi, vWise
Steve McKay, Putnam Investments
The path to personalization can include an overwhelming number of choices. How can we, as solution providers, support the growing demands of plan participants without adding to the confusion and stress they may experience when thinking about their financial wellbeing? This breakout session will be a discussion on the evolution of “personalization” and how the industry is supporting the movement to create better employee engagement and outcomes.

12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 – 1:50 pm State of Retirement 2025 & Beyond – Venetian Ballroom

John Geli, SS&C Technologies (moderator)
Kathleen Connelly, Fiduciary Decisions
Barbara March, My Corporate Ally
Chad Parks, Ubiquity Retirement + Savings
Dan Rosshirt, Deloitte Consulting

State of the Union of Retirement: Hear from industry leaders on current Retirement trends and what Recordkeepers can expect going forward in the changing retirement landscape.

1:50 – 2:20 pm Break with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

2:30 – 3:20 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Alternative Investments in Retirement Plans

Todd Levy, Ingham Retirement Group (moderator)
Matthew Brenner, MissionSquare Retirement
Matthew Mark, World Gold Council
Bryan Platz, Morningstar Investment Management LLC
Asset inflation, as a consequence of a decade plus of zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing by central banks, has borrowed forward asset returns. This trend will sooner or later deliver lower asset returns with limits to multiple expansion and risk taking to eke out yields. Furthermore, correlations among liquid assets are getting more positive in a risk-on-risk-off environment. Alternative asset classes and private market securities have historically offered higher yield and less correlation to their liquid market cousins. This panel will discuss the benefits and challenges of using alternatives and private market instruments in DC plans.

SESSION B – Wellness Program: Designing an Impactful Program in Post-Pandemic World

Andrew Way, Corporate Insight
Joe Saari, Financial Fitness Group
Olivia Jack, Corporate Insight
Holistic financial wellness programs have become a critical component of a workplace benefit suite that can attract and retain talented employees. These programs have soared in importance since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, especially those with useful digital platforms and diverse resources that provide participants with personalized and actionable recommendations for steps to take to improve their own financial well-being. Please join us as our experts in customer experience design and financial wellness discuss best practices for creating a holistic financial wellness program in the post-pandemic world that can have a meaningful impact on employees. The best practices and information shared leverages brand-new survey data from Corporate Insight, longitudinal program behavior, usage and engagement data from Financial Fitness Group and years of collective research between the two organizations.

3:20 – 4:10 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – PEP: Welcome to the World, Now What?

Philip Chao, Experiential Wealth (moderator)
Jodi Green, Tatum Hillman & Powell, LLP
Patrick Hale, The Retirement Plan Company, LLC
Troy Tisue, TAG Resources
As we reach the anniversary date of PEP being the new kid on the DC block, this panel of experts will discuss the opportunities and challenges of establishing and operating a PEP. We will offer a legal and regulatory framework for setting up a PEP and the possible conflicts of which organizers should be aware. Panelists of recordkeepers and 3(16) fiduciaries will offer what their experiences are and what they see are reasonable approaches to setting up and operating a PEP. Will this be the bonanza that some have suggested for service providers and plan sponsors?

SESSION B – Advisor Offerings: The Lifecycle of Opportunity

Judy Nelson, TCS
Ed O’Connor, Princeton Financial Consultants
Hutch Schafer, Nationwide Financial
Pam Dunsky, TCS
The topic of our panel will cover the recent focus on IRA rollover recommendations and opportunities for advisors to grow their book of business to the tools and information critical to advisors to understand opportunities and outcomes for clients. We will hear from industry expert on the recent DOL Fiduciary Rule and Exemption which will be enforceable as of December 2021. We will hear from a service provider on the need to create tools and accelerators for advisor to understand the potential and opportunity in the BOB. We will hear from a US Retirement Industry Product provider on the need to create products that support the demand of the industry.

4:10 – 5:00 pm Asset Managers: Is Consolidation the Only Way to Go? – Venetian Ballroom

Jamie McAllister, Callan
Yaqub Ahmed, Franklin Templeton
Christopher Dillon, T.Rowe Price
Dennis Simmons, CIEBA

5:00 – 7:00 pm Reception with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

9:30 – 11:00 pm After Hours Networking – – Beach Club

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

7:00 – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

8:00 – 8:10 am Opening Remarks – Venetian Ballroom

Ralph Ferraro, Lincoln Financial Group

8:10 – 9:00 am Annuity in DC Plan: Two Years Since SECURE — Venetian Ballroom

Philip Chao, Experiential Wealth (moderator)
Joe Hendrickson, Allianz Life
Steve McCoy, iJoin
James Olson, IPX Retirement
Since 2021, there have been a number of exciting product announcements pertaining to slotting annuities in DC plans as a result of the SECURE Act. In our highly competitive and dynamic industry, there are many approaches to extending lifetime income to retirees in- or out-of-plan. This panel will reflect on the thinking behind developing an annuity-based lifetime income solution and how it compares to the classic product approach by other product manufacturers.

9:10 – 10:00 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Lifetime Income: Managing Decumulation Strategies

Ryan Grosdidier, SS&C
Matt Condos, Lincoln Financial Group
Michael De Feo, Allianz Life
Rick Luchinsky, American Century
Bill Meyer, Retiree Income
Historically, plans have been good at helping participants save for retirement, but not necessarily at managing decumulation. With rising concerns from Americans about outliving their retirement savings, the focus is now on servicing participants from accumulation to decumulation. Our panel of experts help you understand the changing role of the recordkeeper and what products and technology will help you know your participants needs and keep assets in your plan.

SESSION B – Cybersecurity & Privacy Panel

Preston Rutledge, Rutledge Policy Group, LLC (moderator)
David Levine, Groom Law Group
Mark Strosahl, Principal
The DoL issues cybersecurity guidance back in the Spring. This session explores the background and eventual direction this new guidance will take.

10:00 – 10:30 am Break with Exhibitors – – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

10:30 – 10:50 am Break / Check Out

10:50 – 11:40 am Advisor Survey Results – What Advisors Want from Record Keepers – Venetian Ballroom

Sean Murray, Envestnet (moderator)
Jason Chepenik, OneDigital
Mike Griffin, UBS
Don Macquattie, Raymond James
SPARK and DCIIA conducted primary research into what Advisors want from record keepers. This session will summarize that research and explore these findings with our panel of experts.

11:40 am – 12:30 pm Washington Regulatory & Legislative Update – Venetian Ballroom

Chris Gaston, Davis & Harman LLP
Mike Hadley, Davis & Harman LLP
Davis & Harman LLP, The SPARK Institute’s outside counsel, will provide an update on activities in Washington, DC.

12:30 – 12:50 pm Closing Remarks – Venetian Ballroom

Rich Linton, Empower Retirement