SPARK Institute, backed by other plan sponsors and service providers, wants the SEC to adopt its proposed alternative to the regulator's "hard 4 p.m. close" to combat late-trading abuses. The SPARK proposal would permit defined contribution plan participants to place orders up to 4 p.m. ET by allowing service providers to continue to process and submit them after the markets close. The SEC proposal requires all orders to reach mutual fund companies or their transfer agents by 4 p.m. to get that day's closing price. Critics say that treats plan participants as "second-class citizens" because they must submit their orders to record keepers or other plan providers, which process the orders before sending them to the mutual fund companies. That would make their deadlines much earlier.
The institute, the legislative arm of the Society of Professional Administrators and Recordkeepers, has the backing of the ASPA, the American Benefits Council, the Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets, and the trade organizations representing bankers and accountants. The Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America is still reviewing it.