Retirement system on the mend

After some delay, federal workers will finally have access to new investment

options through the government's retirement savings plan.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board announced this week that

Thrift Savings Plan participants can begin investing in two new investment

funds starting in May. The TSP is a retirement savings plan for federal

employees similar to 401(k) plans offered by private employers.

The new TSP investment funds were scheduled for availability on Oct. 1,

but software problems associated with a new TSP recordkeeping system forced

the board to delay rollout until next spring.

The vendor, American Management Systems Inc., is making progress fixing

the recordkeeping system. As of Sept. 12, more than 5,700 bugs have been

found in the system software and about 1,600 have yet to be resolved.

The number of bugs discovered so far is less than the 7,100 bugs that AMS

had predicted would be discovered at this point, according to the board.

Meanwhile, the pending House/Senate conference on the National Defense Authorization

Act for fiscal 2001 will allow military participation in the TSP. In anticipation

of the legislation being adopted, the board plans to offer 2.3 million military

service personnel the opportunity to participate in the TSP starting in

October 2001.

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