|Commissioner of the Social Security Administration|
|Assumed office |
June 17, 2019
|Preceded by||Michael J. Astrue|
|Chair of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board|
November 15, 2002 – August 22, 2011
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||James Atkins|
|Succeeded by||Michael Kennedy|
Andrew Marshall Saul
November 6, 1946
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||University of Pennsylvania (BS)|
Andrew Marshall Saul (born November 6, 1946) is an American businessman from Katonah, New York who serves as the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Saul previously served as the Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) and Vice Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City, United States. Saul has been a General Partner in the investment firm Saul Partners, L.P., since 1986.
As Chairman of the Thrift Investment Board, he was responsible for overseeing the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) which is the retirement savings account for employees of the Federal Government and soldiers of the armed services. The TSP is known to reap higher returns for their retirement than comparable private-sector workers, and is immune from many of the problems that plague mutual funds. During Saul's tenure, the TSP was grown to over $200 billion in assets by 2007, making it twice as large as when he began in 2003. He also cut operating expenses by over $20 million. The TSP is the largest defined contribution plan in the world with over 3.7 million participants and assets worth over $210 billion. The plan is expected to grow to at least $300 billion by 2010.[needs update]
His largest accomplishment with the Thrift Savings Board was to eliminate open enrollment periods, which allows eligible participants to enroll year-round, and the launch of lifecycle funds, which automatically allocate investments to minimize risk as a federal employee nears retirement. During monthly FRTIB board meetings, Saul pushed for improvements in technology and customer service, and was instrumental in having the board hire an outside auditor to review TSP financial statements and bring any concerns directly to the board rather than to TSP staff. He is required by law to be independent and act in the best interests of plan participants. As chairman, Saul urged the board to send a signal to Congress that the Thrift Savings Plan cannot be drawn into social or political debates, even for good causes. He also opposed so-called "terror-free" investments which would divest the plan from holdings in any government designated by the State Department as a terrorist-sponsoring state, or in businesses with substantial investments in those nations. He was a major advocate for ensuring that its computer systems and offerings keep pace with the program's expanding size.
Saul has been active in Republican Party politics. In 2007 he began a campaign for the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Representative John Hall in the 2008 election, but withdrew from the race in November 2007.
Early career and background
Saul was born to a Jewish family in New York City. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and began his career with Brooks Fashion Stores, rising to become its President, and growing the company into a large corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Along with his father Joseph, he then purchased the bankrupt South Florida women's apparel company Caché Inc. (NASDAQ:CACH), and restored it to solvency. The company is now an upscale fashion store with 300 outlets around the world, and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. He has served on the board of directors since 1986, and as Chairman of the Board from February 1993 to October 2000. In 1986, he founded an investment firm with his father, Saul Partners, L.P. as a partner. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the United Jewish Appeal Federation, the Sarah Neuman Nursing Home, the Wharton School of Business, the Manhattan Institute, and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City. He is also a member of the Chairman's Council of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a patron of the Museum of Modern Art, and is one of the top art collectors in New York, with extensive holdings of modern art and contemporary art, especially post war American and Chinese bronzes. In May 2013, he was made a member of the Board of Trustees, effective in November, for the National Gallrt of Art.
He and his wife Denise have two daughters, one of whom is active in Republican politics. His father suffered a stroke in 1996, and Saul became the primary caregiver, making a three-hour round trip drive to Long Island several times a week in order to check on his parents and accompany them to physician appointments while still the CEO of a major corporation. Joseph Saul died in 2007.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
In 2006, Saul was appointed by Governor George Pataki to a six-year term as a Vice-Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after nine years as a board member. He was recommended by Westchester County Executive Andy Spano. He also serves as Chair of the Finance Committee, and is a member of each of the other eleven board committees of the MTA. Saul was originally appointed to the board to represent Westchester County in 1996 by County Executive Andrew O'Rourke.
In 2005, Saul was one of only two members to vote against a one-time $50 million holiday fare discount from the MTA's budget surplus.
Federal Thrift Retirement Investment Board
Saul was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate in 2002 as chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the agency which manages the Thrift Savings Plan for employees of Federal Government agencies, and soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, providing retirement security for more than 3.7 million participants. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, which was controlled by the Democrats. Saul replaced James H. Atkins of Arkansas, who had been nominated to a third term by President Bill Clinton in a recess appointment. Since being appointed by President Bush, Saul pushed for more rigorous audits of TSP operations. The General Accounting Office concurred with Saul's efforts in a 2003 report, urging Congress to set up procedures that would keep it better informed about the operations and policy decisions at the federal employee retirement program, suggesting that Congress could "establish a formal process by which the Secretary of Labor can report to the Congress issues of critical concern associated with the actions of the TSP board and executive director."
During his confirmation hearing, Senator Daniel Akaka told Saul he would be facing a difficult situation, as the outgoing Executive Director had taken a number of actions before his sudden departure which led to "demoralization of the TSP staff, expensive lawsuits, investigations, rancorous battles with other agencies, along with the costs of a failed record keeping system project" that were all eventually dealt with by the FRTIB. Shortly after Saul assumed office, TSP Executive Director James Petrick resigned. It has been alleged by former FRTIB Chairman and Executive Director Roger Mehle that this occurred when Petrick wished to pursue a lawsuit against the contractor for the record keeping system which led to a conflict with the Justice Department over whether the board had standing to sue. Saul pursued a settlement and dropped the lawsuit. In 2007, Mehle launched his own lawsuit against Saul and the board which alleges that the board violated its fiduciary duty to TSP participants by forcing out Petrick in order to settle the lawsuit against the contractor.
Saul and his executive director Gary Amelio inherited a mishandled computer project for a new record-keeping system, which had been started in 1997 and wasted $36 million. The system was eventually brought online in 2003. Under the direction of Saul and Amelio, a new mainframe computer was installed that runs ten times faster than the old system, with an emergency backup computer that can be used in the event of a disaster in the Washington DC area. The agency also acquired its first toll-free line, opened two new call centers, and extended hours for customer service. On May 3, 2007, President George W. Bush renominated Saul to two more consecutive terms on the board expiring September 25, 2012. Following the resignation of Gary Amelio in 2007, Saul appointed Gregory T. Long as executive director for the Thrift Savings Plan, who was previously the director of product development for the TSP.
In June 2007, the Federal Thrift Retirement Investment Board approved a resolution to prohibit Congress from proposing that companies that do business in Iran or Sudan be removed from the Thrift Savings Plan, in order to reduce support for Iran's oil and gas industry or to reprimand the Sudanese government for its role in the Darfur conflict. Saul said such changes would not be in the TSP participants' best interest since the changes would go against past precedent that the TSP not interfere in social or political matters. Members of Congress including Reps. Tom Davis, Jon Porter, Henry Waxman, and Danny Davis, wrote Saul in July 2005 claiming that they wanted to have an independent professional investment consultant examine whether new investment choices would benefit TSP participants, which led to a conflict between Congress and the board regarding Real estate investment trust funds.
Saul and other board members discussed several future options for the TSP, including asking Congress to require automatic enrollment in the TSP for new hires, as Government employees now must sign up for a payroll deduction. Other proposals included asking Congress whether to designate a new default fund for FERS employees who do not enroll but receive a mandatory agency contribution of 1 percent of salary, since that money now goes into the government securities fund, but TSP officials think the L Funds would be a more appropriate, long-term investment. Saul also suggested adding Roth 401(k)-style feature to the TSP that is similar to Roth individual savings accounts, by allowing participants to make contributions with money that has been taxed, with the contributions growing tax-free and account balances being withdrawn tax-free. Employees now contribute pre-tax dollars to the TSP and pay taxes when they withdraw their savings. President Bush likened his social security privatization plan to the TSP, although it was never adopted. Bush believed that the TSP could serve as a model for his proposed personal accounts.
Under the Saul's stewardship, the board tightened the rules for the TSP loan program in 2004, imposing a waiting period for new loans and charging a loan-processing fee, which dropped the number of loans issued from about 1,800 loans per day to an average of 534 per day. TSP participants may hold two loans at the same time and pay them back through payroll deductions, and may pay off a loan early and immediately request a new loan. The board felt the loan program was partially responsible for the slowdown during the launch of the new-record keeping system. The board also felt that participants are asked to absorb the cost of a loan program that they rarely use, and that the borrowers were also tying up the TSP's limited staff resources, leading to the changes. During a 2005 audit called for by Saul, representatives of Deloitte & Touche gave the TSP a clean audit and said they found no major problems with TSP's internal financial controls.
Saul was a Bush pioneer in 2000 and 2004, raising over $100,000 for the Bush-Cheney campaign, and has contributed to numerous Republican candidates and served on the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Along with Bill Kristol and Peggy Noonan, Saul is a trustee of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a prominent conservative think-tank which promotes limited government and free-market principles whose mission is to "develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility" and has hosted policy speeches by then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in 2002 and both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in 2006. His daughter, Jennifer Saul Yaffa, is the National Committeewoman of the Republican National Committee from the New York Republican State Committee. She is also head of the Manhattan GOP.
In 2007, Saul was for several months a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Representative John Hall in the 2008 election. Saul had been eyeing the seat for New York's 19th congressional district since 1993, when Sue Kelly won a crowded primary. She won the seat and held it until being defeated by Hall in 2006.
Saul's 2007 campaign began well when he raised more money than Hall in the second quarter of 2007, although Hall had more total money on hand. A spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee described Saul as a "top recruit". Another Republican candidate, Iraq War veteran Kieran Lalor, criticized Saul as being too liberal, saying he was "Sue Kelly all over again".
On November 20, 2007, Saul announced that he was dropping out of the race because of unspecified "personal reasons".
Social Security Administration
On April 12, 2018, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Andrew Saul to be Commissioner of Social Security, for the remainder of a six year term expiring January 19, 2019 and for an additional six-year term expiring January 19, 2025. The nomination drew sharp criticism from Social Security and disability advocacy groups because of his involvement with the right-wing Manhattan Institute, which has repeatedly called for cuts to Social Security benefits. His lack of experience with Social Security and the accusation that he impersonated a police chief while trespassing on his bicycle were also brought into question. On January 3, 2019, his nomination was returned to the President under Rule XXXI, Paragraph 6 of the United States Senate. His was renominated on January 22, 2019 for the remainder of a six-year term expiring January 19, 2025. On March 26, 2019, his nomination was reported out of committee favorably by the Senate Committee on Finance. On June 4, 2019, the Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 77–16.
On June 17, 2019, Saul was officially sworn in as the Commissioner of Social Security at the agency's offices in Washington, D.C.
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- "TSP designers insulated investment decisions from social investing by setting up an independent investment board, narrowing investment choices, and requiring strict fiduciary duties. Its creation involved five years of open forums and debate designed to create strong bipartisan support. Its creators made clear from the beginning that economic, not social or political, goals were to be the sole purpose of the investment board. The TSP has perpetuated this norm by refusing to yield to early pressure to invest in "economically targeted investments" or to avoid companies doing business in South Africa and Northern Ireland."—Arnold et al. 1998, p. 20 
- Arnold et al. 1998, p. 348
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- "OK disclosure statement in Caché Chap. 11 plan.". Daily News Record. December 10, 1986.
- "U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Britto approved a plan of reorganization to keep Caché, a financially troubled women's clothing chain, in business. Saul Partners, a New York retailing partnership was to invest up to $11 million in the Miami-based company, obtaining over 50% of Caché's stock. The confirmation, following a brief hearing, was unopposed."—Miami Herald, December 20, 1986.
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- Executive Profile: Andrew M. Saul, Director: Cache, Incorporated Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved 8/17/07 from executivedisclosure.com Archived August 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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- "National Gallery of Art Trustees Appoint Andrew M. Saul as New Trustee, Effective September 2013". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- "WEDDINGS; Kimberly Saul and Aaron Tighe". The New York Times, November 22, 1998.
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- "When I and two of my fellow Board members last appeared before this Subcommittee in November 2002, at our confirmation hearing, then Chairman Akaka graciously yet firmly made us aware of the difficult situation that we faced in assuming our new roles as Board members. This warning proved to be an understatement, as we entered an embattled agency. The outgoing Executive Director took a number of actions just before his abrupt departure that demoralized the staff, many of whom had built the program from the beginning. Expensive lawsuits and investigations were sprouting up, rancorous battles were underway with other agencies, the costs of the failed record keeping system project had not been charged to participants, and decisions had to be made immediately on whether to go forward with the new record keeping system project at all. I and my fellow Board members entered this environment and, working with the seasoned senior career staff, methodically sorted through these matters, keeping the new system and other projects on track and moving forward as we restored essential relationships."—Oversight of the Thrift Savings Plan: Ensuring the Integrity of Federal Employee Retirement Savings. Statement of The Honorable Andrew M. Saul, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. March 1, 2004.
- Rutzick, Karen. "Retirement Planning Honey Pot". Government Executive. April 20, 2007.
- "A Federal Agency Responds To Criticism Of Wasting Money". Information Week. July 19, 2004.
- Saul has claimed that the Board asked for Petrick's resignation after he was rude to them on the phone, and caused the resignation of six senior TSP staffers. Petrick was a sixteen year veteran of the TSP and held a lifetime appointment as Executive Director from the previous members of the FRTIB.
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Andrew Saul|
- Caché Inc. - Fashion retailing company owned by Andrew Saul
- FRTIB.gov, the official site of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
- Online Guide to New York Politics
- SEC Filings for Caché Inc.
- The Official TSP Home Page, maintained by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
| Chair of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
| Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority
| Commissioner of the Social Security Administration