Lawmakers Calls for Inspector General Oversight of the TSP
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Following months of complaints surrounding the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement savings program’s transition to a new recordkeeper, one Democrat in Congress is calling for more permanent oversight of the Thrift Savings Plan.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., announced Tuesday that she has introduced legislation that would establish an inspector general’s office for the agency that administers the TSP. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Inspector General Act (H.R. 8763) simply adds the FRTIB to the list of agencies required to have inspectors general in federal law.
Since the TSP transitioned to a new recordkeeper and made changes to its website to accommodate the switch in June, participants have encountered a cavalcade of problems, including difficulty setting up online access to their accounts, having to revise beneficiary designations, as well as issues accessing historical account documents and information and poorly communicated changes to how the TSP calculates maximum loan amounts.
These problems were exacerbated by Accenture Federal Services, who is now the agency’s vendor for recordkeeping and the ThriftLine customer service call center, significantly underestimating the volume of calls seeking assistance with the new system, causing unprecedented wait times for participants seeking help.
In the intervening months, TSP and Accenture representatives have made a number of changes to make the website, which now also offers new features like electronic document signatures, paperless rollovers, access to thousands of mutual fund investments and a mobile app, easier to access and use. But complaints about the new system persist.
Norton has been receiving weekly briefings from the TSP about its efforts to improve the new website’s functionality and has requested a Government Accountability Office investigation into the recordkeeping project, from the planning and contract award to implementation and post-transition mitigation. GAO’s work on the investigation is expected to begin in November.
“I am deeply concerned about the widespread problems with the new TSP online system,” she said in a statement. “I hear frequently from constituents about the many problems with the new system, including discrepancies in account balances, difficulties accessing accounts, lost beneficiary information, and hours-long wait times for customer service. I will continue to demand immediate fixes to the problems, but we need to understand how this debacle occurred and to create a new accountability mechanisms at FRTIB, which is why I introduced my bill to establish an inspector general.”
Inspectors general are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Officials with the TSP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.