The new and improved TSP system is off to a rough start. In theory, TSP participants should be able to quickly access information and make account changes on the Internet. But, according to an informal survey conducted by Fedsmith.com this week, it isn’t working.
92% of our respondents said they have tried to use the new system. From the number and tone of the comments our readers submitted, this figure may surprise you: 11% of readers responding to our survey agreed with the statement that “I was able to access the TSP system. It worked well and I found the information I was seeking.”
That’s the good news. More than half of respondents (51%) told us they tried but were not able to access the new TSP system. Another 24% said they were able to access the system but it did not work well and another 7% said they were able to access the TSP system but could not find the information they were looking for.
So, all in all, the new program is off to a rather dismal start.
While the numbers give a good indication of the relative success of the system, the comments from readers reflect the reaction of TSP investors who used the system this week.
Here are a few of the 200 or so comments we received from readers in the past couple of days.
A Coast Guard Command Staff Assistant from North Carolina wrote: “Not only have I not been able to access the system – I can no longer help my employees access the system. I have attempted on at least 50 occasions – twice at 3 a.m. in the morning (on different mornings) – all to no avail. This is absurd – why create a software system that will let us make changes on a daily basis – when we can’t access the system to do so?!! ”
An Army budget analyst says: “They should contract out the TSP functions to a major mutual fund company rather than reinventing the wheel. This would result in more efficiency and reduction on unnecessary expenses to the TSP program. ”
An Air Force project manager from Utah tells us: “I have tried for 3 days to access the system and have not been able to. Millions of dollars and years of time and this is what we get. Typical government.”
A GSA property manager from Syracuse, NY fumed: “Cannot access the system at all. So far the new system is useless. Also, phone calls to TSP are not answered. The system is impotent and not meeting any of our needs. Also, I am tired of TSP Directors trying puff up the bad situation in news articles. They have a real problem here.”
A CFO from the VA in Baltimore wrote: “The system doesn’t work. The people running TSP are doing their best to make it appear that the problems with the system are really with the users. We should find a private sector company to manage our TSP.”
To answer the question posed by several readers about “who will pay for this new system,” the answer is that you will. Your share of the $36 million or so will be assessed to your account. Since there are millions of shareholders, the cost will not be a big hit to your account. But, based on reactions of TSP investors so far, most are not happy with the results of their investment.