At the monthly meeting of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), representatives from Accenture Federal Services reviewed the progress and changes for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)—mainly as a result of the new TSP website introduced one year ago.
Most readers are aware of the problems that occurred when the new website went live. There will likely still be fall-out from dissatisfaction with the new website.
A class action lawsuit has been filed seeking financial relief for TSP participants who claim to have suffered “actual injury, economic damages, and other injury and actual harm.” Also, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate the problems with the website in response to Congressional requests for them to do so.
In the recent FRTIB monthly public meeting, these issues were not addressed. That does not mean the fall-out from the roll-out problems has gone away or has been fully resolved. No doubt, more news items will be featured in the future as these issues get nearer to a resolution.
On a more positive note, the monthly meeting did include an update by Accenture Federal Services (AFS). AFS detailed the progress that has been made with the new website and new features that will be forthcoming now that the website has been live for one year. Here is a summary of this presentation conducted on June 27th, 2023.
Improving Satisfaction of Those Using TSP Website and Call Center
AFS reported that satisfaction scores have steadily increased during the past year. The current satisfaction level is reported as being at 89% which is up from an 82% satisfaction rate last February. Customer satisfaction with the phone service has gone from 89% in February to 92% based on the most recent data.
In May, the average ThriftLine wait time was nine seconds, and the average call duration was nine minutes, 33 seconds. This is a dramatic improvement based on TSP participants reporting they were not able to get through to talk to a representative or experienced very long wait times shortly after the new website was introduced.
Record-Breaking Use of Services
AFS reported greater use of TSP services and features brought about by the new website. Data reflecting the heavy usage include:
- 3.72 million online accounts established
- 49.5 million account logins
- 3.17 million ThriftLine calls answered
- 11,000 concierge rollovers into the TSP
- 3.36 million electronic payments
- 160,000+ 2nd general purpose loans processed
- 813+ downloads of the new TSP mobile app
- 3.86 million in withdrawals and installments processed totaling $33.8 billion
- 1.46 million fund transfers and reallocations
- 3,300 mutual fund window accounts established with transfers of $199 million
Channeling Domino’s Pizza in the TSP: Expected Changes and Improvements for TSP Participants
Several changes to the TSP are expected to be introduced in the coming year.
One improvement that would probably be welcomed by participants uses a concept introduced by Domino’s Pizza. While most readers are familiar with this pizza, and most probably like it as the company has been successful, following the lead of a successful pizza delivery company for implementing TSP processing is unique.
For those who are not familiar with the term “pizza tracker”, it has been around since 2008. At that time, Domino’s issued a press release. This press release stated:
Domino’s Pizza…the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, has launched another food delivery industry first: Pizza Tracker(TM). This revolutionary technology allows Domino’s Pizza customers to follow the progress of their order online from the time they click the “Place Order” button or hang up the telephone until the Domino’s delivery expert is knocking on their door.Domino’s Launches Revolutionary Customer Tool: Pizza Tracker(TM) | Domino’s Pizza (gcs-web.com)
When folded into the TSP software, the “Pizza Tracker” (TM) concept used by Domino’s will allow TSP participants to track real-time status updates for TSP transactions that are pending.
“One of the things we are going to introduce is what we like to call the pizza tracker,” said Owen Davies, Client Account Lead at AFS. “If I have a pending item of work [with the TSP], I will be able to see where it is. It’s like Domino’s which is why we affectionally refer to it as the pizza tracker.”
Another change is bank account verification tools to shorten the waiting period for “money-out” transactions. Participants may also experience improvements for specific transactions such as legal and death claims for TSP accounts.
Also, an “Innovation LaunchPad” intends to improve TSP security and make it easier to use the TSP features. The LaunchPad will be used in various features including the “MyAccount” portion of the website, and the Virtual Agent.
Regarding this planned feature, AFS states, “The Innovation LaunchPad continuously seeks, assesses, recommends, tests and implements relevant innovations that increase the security of the TSP, improve the participant experience, and improve the value delivered to TSP participants.”
TSP Highlights as of May 2023
The total number of TSP participants is now more than 6.8 million. The largest number of accounts are held by federal employees in the FERS system with more than 3.9 million accounts. The number of accounts held by CSRS participants is down to 257,467.
There are more than 1.3 million “legacy” TSP participants, 39,682 beneficiary participants, and more than 1.2 million TSP participants from the military’s Blended Retirement System.
Total assets in the TSP are now about $767 billion. This is a larger number than the $726 billion in the TSP in 2022 but still less than the $812 billion reached in 2021.
As many readers will recall, the TSP returns were dismal in 2021. The S Fund went down more than 26%, the C Fund declined by more than 18%, the I Fund was down almost 14% and the F Fund was down almost 13%. As the stock market declined, so did the total assets under management by the TSP.
As stocks are generally up so far this year, TSP assets are growing again. By the end of the year, it is possible the TSP will go back to the assets managed way back in 2021!