TSP Tells Feds Not to Panic After Brexit Vote Sends Markets Tumbling

Markets tumbled after Britons voted to leave the European Union. Above, the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. Markets tumbled after Britons voted to leave the European Union. Above, the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. AP Photo/Richard Drew

The board that oversees the Thrift Savings Plan on Friday cautioned federal enrollees not to freak out about their retirement nests eggs. The warning came after England’s decision Thursday to leave the European Union caused markets to tumble in an international uproar.

The agency posted a message online and sent an email to TSP participants to “stick to your plan” and “avoid chasing returns.” The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board did not specifically mention the historic Brexit vote that is shaking up the global economy, but emphasized the wisdom of thinking long-term about investments.

“An investment strategy of chasing returns or trying to ‘time the market’ means you have to be consistently correct two times: exactly when to get out of a particular asset class and exactly when to get back in,” the message said. “Most investment experts agree that such success is highly unlikely over long periods.”

Kim Weaver, the board’s director for external affairs, said on Friday that the FRTIB posted the information “just as a reminder to our participants that retirement investing is a long-term effort.” Asked what effect Brexit might be having on TSP enrollees, she said she didn’t “have any insight at the moment as to what TSP participants are doing in their accounts today. However, the U.S. stock markets and markets around the world are down.”

It’s likely the topic will come up on Monday during the TSP board’s monthly meeting in Washington. Stay tuned.

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