Fedweek

The TSP has added details to its earlier announcement that there will be blackouts on certain services it provides to account holders as it transitions to a new record-keeping system in the upcoming weeks.

Some of those blackout periods will start as early as April 29 but the one of potentially the most direct impact—on transfers of money among the TSP’s funds and changes to allocations of ongoing investments—won’t begin until May 26. All blackout periods are to end in the “first week of June” with no specific date yet given.

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The changeover will enable the TSP to provide some additional services, most notably the “window” through which investors will be able to move up to a quarter of their account balances—so long as they have at least $40,000 on investment—to outside mutual funds. That range of choice, involving some 5,000 funds, has long been a main feature that account holders have asked for in surveys and could relieve some of the long-running pressure on the TSP to directly offer funds tailored to certain investment philosophies or market sectors.

Other new features, as previously announced, will include a mobile app; an online virtual assistant available at all times; revisions to the My Account page designed to be more user-friendly; ability to complete a wider range of transactions online; and a simplified process with live agent help for rolling money into the TSP from other retirement savings accounts.

In addition to the blackout starting May 26 (effective at 6 pm Eastern time) on making investment transactions (including interfund transfers and changes to contribution allocations), other upcoming blackout dates also effective through early June will include:

-April 21, to submit paper form TSP-20, Loan Application if unable to access the online tool in My Account.

-April 29, to request certain paper forms if unable to access online tools in My Account through the ThriftLine; or to request paper forms and plan materials through the ThriftLine.

-May 16, to use the online tool in My Account to generate a filled Form TSP-3, Designation of Beneficiary; to access online tools or upload forms or documents in My Account; to use the Secure Message Center to submit account-specific inquiries; to access forms on tsp.gov; or to complete withdrawal requests. Also the deadline for the TSP to receive rollover or transfer funds from other retirement accounts, to complete loan agreements or to submit loan payments through other than payroll withholding.

-May 17, for the TSP to receive written correspondence by mail or fax including general questions, subpoenas, tax levy requests, etc.

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-May 26, to call the ThriftLine and speak to a TSP representative or use the automated response system for account transactions; or to make profile changes in My Account including changes to contact information.

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