Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
|Employees||256 (December, 2016)|
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board was established as an independent agency of the United States government by the Federal Employees Retirement System Act of 1986. It has roughly 270 employees. It was established to administer the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve. The Thrift Savings Plan is a tax-deferred defined contribution plan similar to a private sector 401(k) plan. The Thrift Savings Plan is one of the three parts of the Federal Employees Retirement System, and is the largest defined contribution plan in the world with over 5 million participants and assets worth over $500 billion. The board members and its chairman are nominated by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate. The current chairman is Michael Kennedy.
Governance of the agency is carried out by a five-person, part-time board of presidential appointees and by a full-time executive director selected by those appointees. Of the five appointees, three members are appointed solely by the President without other consideration (of whom one shall be nominated as Chairman), one member is appointed after considering the recommendation of the Speaker of the House (in consultation with the House Minority Leader) and the fifth member is appointed after considering the recommendation of the Senate Majority Leader (in consultation with the Senate Minority Leader). Each of these persons is required by FERSA to have "substantial experience, training, and expertise in the management of financial investments and pension benefit plans." 5 U.S.C. 8472(d). The board members collectively establish the policies under which the TSP operates and furnish general oversight. The executive director carries out the policies established by the board members and otherwise acts as the full-time chief executive of the agency. The board and the executive director convene monthly in meetings open to the public to review policies, practices, and performance.
The chairman also appoints a 15-member Employee Thrift Advisory Council to provide input from the various employee, servicemember, and annuitant groups who have TSP investments, of which one is designated by the chairman as the council head. The 15-member board is made up of the following:
- Four members representing the four largest non-Postal employee unions
- Two members representing the two largest Postal employee unions, excluding rural letter carrier unions
- One member representing the largest Postal employee union representing rural letter carriers
- Two members representing the two largest groups representing Postal managerial personnel
- One member representing Postal supervisors
- One member representing the interests of women in Federal civil service
- One member representing the largest group of individuals receiving annuities
- One member representing the largest group representing supervisors and managerial personnel, excluding Senior Executive Service
- One member representing the Senior Executive Service
- One member representing the uniformed services
The first chairman of the board was Roger W. Mehle, who was appointed on October 1, 1986. In 1988 he was reappointed and served continuously until January 31, 1994. President Clinton appointed James H. Atkins to replace him, and the board named Mehle the agency's executive director. Clinton named Atkins to another term in 1997, and to a third term via a recess appointment in 2000. He was succeeded by Andrew Saul, who named Gary Amelio executive director in 2002, replacing Mehle. The current executive director is Ravindra Deo, who succeeded Gregory Long in 2017. Ravindra Deo joined the FRTIB in 2015 as the Chief Investment Officer and additionally served as Acting Chief Operating Officer and Acting Executive Director during his tenure.
Investments in unaudited companies in China
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has been criticized for a 2017 decision to mirror an index that invests in unaudited Chinese companies as well as companies that are sanctioned by the U.S. Despite scrutiny from the U.S. Senate, Board voted to permit continued investment in an index containing stocks of unaudited companies in the People's Republic of China. In November 2019, U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Jeanne Shaheen introduced legislation, the Taxpayers and Savers Protection Act, to force the Board to divest from unaudited Chinese companies. In May 2020, a directive from the United States Department of Labor ordered the TSP to halt a plan to invest in Chinese stocks.
- Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations
- List of members of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
- "Congressional Record – PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 111th CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION" (PDF). June 22, 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
- 5 U.S.C. § 8473
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2020-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Wagner, Erich (August 28, 2019). "Lawmakers Question TSP Foreign Investment Decisions, and More". Government Executive. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Brust, Amelia (September 13, 2019). "Lawmakers, observers denounce moving TSP fund to China-inclusive index in 2020". WFED. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Bursztynsky, Jessica (September 11, 2019). "Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make sure federal worker retirement dollars are not invested in China". CNBC. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Alper, Alexandra (2020-04-21). "Trump pressed to halt federal pension investments in China's ZTE, Hikvision". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2020-05-02. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
- Flatley, Daniel (November 13, 2019). "U.S. Retirement Fund Okays China Investment After Senate Threat". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on November 17, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
- McCrank, John (2019-11-26). "Senators seeking China ban for federal pension plan dispute critics". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2019-11-27. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
- Tergesen, Anne (2020-05-12). "Trump Administration Tells Federal Retirement Plan to Avoid Chinese Stocks". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-05-13.