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Search Tags: Greg Long
The agency that runs federal employees' (401)k-style Thrift Savings Plan needs to do a better job monitoring potential cyber incidents against its website, strengthen security at its data centers and come up with a plan for tracking all of its technology hardware. That's according to recent audits of the TSP program undertaken by the Labor Department, which were presented to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday.
Thanks to a roaring stock market in February, total assets in the Thrift Savings Plan have climbed to the highest level in the plan's history. All told, assets in the TSP exceeded $400 billion at the end of last month. At the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board's monthly meeting Thursday, board members heard another recommendation to revamp the Lifecycle Funds.
New Thrift Savings Plan participants would be automatically enrolled in an age-appropriate Lifecycle Fund -- instead of the G Fund -- under a bill set to be debated Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Smart Savings Act, introduced by the committee's chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), is supported by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is eyeing another potential tweak to the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Funds — their name. Lifecycle Funds, also known as L Funds or target-date funds, are made up of a mix of the five core TSP funds that shifts over time. But board members are concerned the "fund" label may be confusing to TSP participants. In its place, the board is considering changing the name to "Lifecycle strategies."
Federal employees could soon be seeing a lot less of the G Fund in their Thrift Savings plan accounts. Instead of being automatically enrolled solely in government securities, new plan participants would be shifted to an age-appropriate Lifecycle, or L, Fund as their default investing option under a proposal approved by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday. The proposal ultimately requires action by Congress.
If the proposed budget deal becomes law, new federal workers will see a total of 10.6 percent of their salaries automatically withheld from their paychecks to cover their retirement benefits. That could lead to them contributing less or not at all to their voluntary Thrift Savings Plan accounts, experts said.
During the 16-day government shutdown last month, more than 14,000 Thrift Savings Plan participants withdrew money from their accounts, the highest number of hardship withdrawals in a single month ever. This may have helped participants weather the financial uncertainty of the shutdown. But, under TSP rules, it also means they'll be unable to contribute to their 401(k)-style retirement accounts for the next six months. Now, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees the TSP, is concerned that not all those participants will take the initiative to restart their contributions when the penalty period expires next spring.
Hardship withdrawals shot up in the first few weeks of October and thousands more employees opted to shift their investments out of higher-risk areas and into the G Fund, TSP officials said at at the board's monthly meeting Monday. During the shutdown, some 8,200 participants requested hardship withdrawals, compared to 5,500 during the same period of time last year.
Greg Long, executive director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, and Kim Weaver, the TSP's director of External Affairs will answer your calls and emails about the TSP.
October 7, 2013
Members of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board approved a nearly 18 percent increase in the agency's budget for the coming fiscal year that will help lay the groundwork for a wholesale overhaul of the TSP participant experience, board officials say. The single, new initiative included in the 2014 budget is the first in a series of steps built around redesigning the entire participant experience, the board's executive director, Greg Long told board members.