Workforce

Chairman to exit Thrift Board next week

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Embattled Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board chairman Michael Kennedy announced his last day on the job would be June 30.

Kennedy's exit follows a turbulent period in which Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, after a directive from the White House, ordered the Board to immediately stop plans to shift one of its funds to a global index investing in Chinese firms linked to that nation's military and government.

FRTIB is in charge of the Thrift Savings Plan investments which currently have more than $610 billion in federal employee and retiree funds under management.

At the June 22 monthly Board meeting, Kennedy said that current board member David A. Jones would succeed him as acting chairman until the Senate confirmed President Trump's nominees to replace him and two of his fellow Board members.

Jones is also set to depart the board, which is being completely remade with President Trump's appointees.

Frank Dunleavy, counselor to the CEO of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, was nominated to replace Kennedy. Christopher Bancroft Burnham, chairman and CEO of Cambridge Global Capital, was tapped to replace Ronald David McCray. John M. Barger, managing director of Norcross Partners, is poised to take the slot currently occupied by David Jones. Kennedy's resignation was first announced June 5.

The Chinese investment had raised concerns on Capitol Hill as well as in the administration. Several lawmakers had also sponsored legislation to stop the Board from investing in the MSCI World ex-USA Investable Market Index.

At the meeting, the Board also announced it would retire its 2020 L Fund and switch to implementing five-year L Funds plans.

Currently, L Funds operate on a 10-year cycle.

"The Thrift Savings Plan has a growing number of younger participants especially due to blended retirement," Sahr Nyandemoh, the project manager for the L Funds Addition Project said.

"The Board wanted to do this to help participants better target their individual retirement time horizons."

The Board voted to phase out the 10-year L Funds and shift to five-year plans in 2017. The new plans will be available to TSP participants on July 1.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a former staff writer and associate editor at FCW.

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