Three industry associations – the American Retirement Association, the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and The SPARK Institute – recently endorsed the use of DTCC’s Retirement Plan Reporting (RPR) solution to centralize and standardize the reporting of retirement plan information such as plan identifiers, fiduciary information, account holdings and balances, plan assets and product type.
The data exchange of retirement plan information between mutual fund companies is traditionally a manual process that lacks transparency. RPR, through DTCC’s National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) subsidiary, can help to reduce operational costs, increase security, promote compliance of new mandates and regulations and increase transparency.
Chris Rhodes, Principal, Mutual Fund Operations at Edward Jones, an RPR client, recently explained the benefits his firm has experienced: “RPR takes a manual and time-intensive process and automates it, enabling us to focus our resources on more strategic and business-forward activities in a cost effective manner.”
The American Retirement Association, ICI and The SPARK Institute have also committed to on-going collaboration with DTCC and DTCC’s clients to ensure RPR continues to meet evolving industry needs. This commitment provides further certainty to the industry that the RPR solution will be a lasting and reliable solution.
Marty Burns, Chief Industry Operations Officer at ICI, said, “Automation of retirement plan level data on a trusted, single platform will be a significant win for all parties to a transaction by increasing transparency, further improving client satisfaction and lowering costs. We look forward to working with DTCC and the industry to drive further levels of automation and standardization in this space.”
SPARK is a non-profit membership organization that is a leading voice for the retirement plan industry. Tim Rouse, Executive Director of the SPARK Institute, said, “Today’s operational environment around exchanging retirement plan level data is highly manual and disparate in nature, creating increased operational and compliance risk and costs across the industry. Having DTCC’s RPR as a solution will bring increased automation and standardization to critical data processes. Although each SPARK member must make independent business decisions, SPARK would like to see all of its members look seriously at RPR as their Best Practice solution.”
Brian H. Graff, CEO at the American Retirement Association, added, “We look forward to bringing visibility to the industry-standard RPR solution, and in working closely with our peers to drive improvements to this area.”
The largest hurdle the industry faces in consolidating the exchange of retirement plan level information onto a single platform is the lack of knowledge of the RPR solution as well as a true understanding of the benefits, which include:
- Saving time and resources by reducing the need for telephone calls, faxes and email communications to obtain plan specific information between investment companies
- Providing centralized and standardized files that eliminate the need for time-consuming multiple point-to-point connections between parties
- Leveraging DTCC’s trusted infrastructure, with its existing connections to industry constituents, enabling a low cost solution
- Establishing a more conclusive method of communicating information to provide optimal transparency for 5500 Schedule C, 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5) compliance requirements
DTCC’s Josephine Torelli, Executive Director, Mutual Fund Services, said it is encouraging that more firms are gaining awareness of the benefits of RPR, a product that offers retirement plan information that is centralized and standardized. “Our long-standing approach is to collaborate with our colleagues in the industry to develop our services, and our work on RPR is no exception. We are looking forward to continuing to help educate our clients and prospective clients about the benefits of this solution so we can help them to further reduce costs and increase transparency.”
As additional companies incorporate RPR into their workflow, the benefit to the entire industry will only increase. Existing NSCC clients that are registered to use Networking may subscribe to RPR. Financial services organizations that are not existing NSCC clients, but meet NSCC membership requirements, may apply for membership and subscribe to RPR at www.dtcc.com/client-center .