Thrift Savings Plan expects budget to grow as more feds retire

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board anticipates managing an additional 4.4 percent in Thrift Savings Plan assets by fiscal 2017 and growing the size of its budget by 25 percent.

The board also expects more federal retirees, more options -- such as the new Roth offering -- and more participants withdrawing partial amounts from their accounts in the next five years, said Kim Weaver, TSP’s director of external affairs.

The size of the TSP’s total current budget estimate for fiscal 2013 is $191.1 million. Under current projections, that number could grow to $253.4 million by fiscal 2017. The projections, however, change month to month, according to Weaver.

As of last month, the FRTIB had committed more than 84 percent of its $143.2 million budget for fiscal 2012. It anticipates fully committing that budget and not requesting additional funds for the remainder of this fiscal year.

The strategic plan for fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017 presented at the board’s monthly meeting Monday includes budget growth across its five major areas of spending: record-keeping; communications; salaries; benefits; and strategic initiatives, including managing the new Roth option and additional risk management funding. FRTIB anticipates hiring additional staff to help implement the initiatives, beginning in fiscal 2013. This is why the fiscal 2013 projection is nearly $50 million higher than the current fiscal year’s budget.

There are currently 4.5 million TSP account holders, including participants in the Federal Employees Retirement System, Civil Service Retirement System and uniformed services. FERS and CSRS membership have remained steady over recent months; the number of uniformed service members participating is climbing slowly.

The board also provided a brief update on its management of the July 2011 cyber breach of the computer of one of its contractors, Serco Inc., first reported in May. Executive director Gregory Long said the board will be making some “adjustments to our security,” but could not provide details. The board has received no additional reports on the impact of the breach to its members. The nature of the cyberattack remains unclear, Long said.

The board also is planning a request for proposals to renew its contract for information technology and record-keeping services currently performed by Serco. According to Federal Business Opportunities, the board will issue the official RFP in December and plans to award the new contract sometime in 2013.

FRTIB’s contract with Serco began in 2006 after the Office of Personnel Management’s National Finance Center discontinued providing record-keeping service for the TSP. The board renews the contract for such services annually.

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