The SPARK Institute filed a comment letter Thursday on the Employee Benefits Security Administration’s proposed guidance on 401(k) investment advice. SPARK’s concern is Department of Labor’s attempt to define acceptable investment practices and theory, instead of leaving the decision on what type of advice to offer, be it computer- or adviser-based, to plan sponsors and administrators.

In essence, SPARK said, the use of historical performance in computer-based models will weaken fiduciaries’ confidence in avoiding liabilities or lawsuits, and have the unintended consequence of sponsors and fund administrators offering less advice, education and investment tools to workers. Instead, SPARK recommends that the plan fiduciary select what constitutes appropriate advice.

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