TSP board picks insider as new director

The head of research and product development for the Thrift Savings Plan has been selected to serve as the next director of the 401(k)-style retirement savings program for federal employees.

In a meeting Monday that was closed to the public, the board that oversees the TSP unanimously elected Gregory Long as the $210 billion plan's chief executive officer and managing fiduciary. Long will step into the position vacated by Gary Amelio, who left the TSP last month to become president of retirement services for ULLICO Inc.

Long served as the TSP's director of product development for the past year. He managed the first survey of plan participants' attitudes in 15 years, and recently completed a separate report on demographics and investment behavior.

Before joining the TSP, he spent seven years in marketing at CitiStreet, a benefits firm, and worked six years at Putnam Investments. His "blend of recent TSP service and private sector experience is exactly the right recipe going forward," said Andrew Saul, the board's chairman, in a statement.

TSP used the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help find the new director.

Long will inherit a plan that is expected to grow to hold as much as $300 billion in investments within three years. One major focus will be increasing military members' participation in the plan, which has reached a plateau in terms of civilians enrolled.

Dan Adcock, assistant legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said he has yet to meet Long, but looks forward to working with him. NARFE is among the employee groups on a council that advises the TSP board.

The group has several agenda items. For instance, when Congress changes policies for private sector 401(k) plans, NARFE will continue to encourage the TSP board to look into similar changes for the federal program, Adcock said.

But NARFE's "main concern is that the [members of the] thrift board continue to be diligent fiduciaries as they have been," Adcock said.

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