TSP activity spiked after S&P downgrade

Monday - 8/15/2011, 5:25pm EDT

Tom Trabucco, director of external affairs, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

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(This post has been updated)

The S&P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating set off a flurry of Thrift Savings Plan account activity last week, said Tom Trabucco, the external affairs director of the TSP Board.

A typical day has 4,000 to 10,000 interfund transfers, but last week was a different story, he explained. The number of interfund transfers by day were:

  • Monday - 27,000
  • Tuesday - 25,000
  • Wednesday - 13,000
  • Thursday - 11,000
  • Friday - 9,000

The number of hotline calls also "spiked hugely," he added. Normally the call center fields about 9,000 calls a day. However, last week it took an average of about 12,000 calls, Trabucco said.

August returns, as of Friday, were:

  • C Fund down 8.7 percent
  • S Fund down 11 percent
  • I Fund down 10.7 percent
  • F fund up 1.6 percent

The high level of activity forced the TSP Board staff to execute an "all-hands on deck exercise," Trabucco said.

"It was quite an active week last week," Trabucco said, adding that the gyrating stock market and its effect on federal retirements was the "topic du jour" at the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board meeting this week.

Trabucco told Federal News Radio that TSP Board Director Greg Long characterized last week as "the first, real test" of the architecture and software improvements that the board has made over the past few years since the financial crisis of 2008.

"And, thoughout the last week, the system demonstrated itself to be more stable and scalable and our teams have demonstrated that they are now stronger," Trabucco said.

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