TSP system poised for launch

After many false starts, the Thrift Savings Plan's new recordkeeping system will be ready in June.

Lawrence Stiffler, director of automated systems for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages the TSP, said "June looks pretty good" for the new system launch.

At that time, the new system will go live, giving TSP participants access to new features such as daily account valuations, quarterly participant statements, and electronic deposit of a loan or withdrawal that's not going to an individual retirement account.

The launch of the new recordkeeping system has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, but at a meeting March 31, Stiffler told board members that user testing began March 17 and training for National Finance Center employees on how to use the new system is under way.

The two major problems that popped up recently — inaccurate data converted from the old system to the new system and slow throughput times — have been fixed, Stiffler said. Parallel testing will begin next month. In February, Stiffler asked the board for, and was granted, an additional $994,000 to fully fund parallel testing and implementation.

A team led by Materials, Communications and Computers Inc. is delivering the new system. The board fired former contractor American Management Systems Inc. in 2001 and filed a $350 million lawsuit against it for fraud and breach of contract. The suit is pending appeal on jurisdictional grounds.

TSP participant and concerned fed J.J. Wuerthner Jr. said more than $1.5 million has been paid to a private law firm to handle the AMS lawsuit, something he opposes. The Justice Department should have jurisdiction, he said.

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