Following is a statement that the Thrift Savings Plan issued in response to a query from FEDweek about the numerous complaints from investors following the program’s transition to a new operating system at the beginning of this month. Those complaints have included inability to create new personal accounts as the system requires, missing information, loan delays, and long waits on hold to speak as well as dropped calls. The statement (in its words and in its entirety) is:
“We transitioned to a new recordkeeper and modernized our core recordkeeping system; it was the equivalent of simultaneously changing our financial institutions, customer interface, and technology platform. During this transition, we converted more than 26.3 billion records for 6.6 million TSP participants and balanced – to the penny – roughly $743 billion TSP participant assets. We relied heavily on the many agency teams that supported this initiative, including nearly 100 federal payroll offices. Thanks to their hard work, we began processing payroll data on day one.
“In the first 14 days since the June 1 transition, we have processed over 8.2 million transactions representing $2.8 billion in payroll contributions. We have processed 82 rollovers for a total of $3.9 million; 22,528 loans for a total of $234 million; 34,031 withdrawals for a total of $1.1 billion; and 86,757 people have downloaded the official TSP app on their mobile phones.
“The new system represents a large, essential, modernization effort for TSP participants and includes changes that were designed to make a safe system even safer. These new security enhancements are in response to a surge in cybercrime in recent years and why all participants are required by the system to create a new login for online account access, given the new identity management and authentication measures that are now in place. While initially TSP participants faced challenges creating new logins, participants who try to create new logins are successful 90% of the time. Between June 1 and June 15, 765,236 participants have successfully established new logins and participants have logged in a total of 1.9 million times, either on the website or on the new TSP app.
“The difficulties in setting up online logins naturally drove higher call volume at our Call Centers. On June 1, we received 130,000 phone calls, 2.5 times greater than our previous highest call-volume day. While we had emphasized the need to have the Call Centers appropriately staffed to handle an expected high volume of calls, the Call Centers nonetheless were unable to keep up with demand. The contractor has added an additional 250 people to the Call Centers since June 1. However, given the continued record-breaking level of call volumes, participants are still experiencing long wait times. We will continue to add staff to the Call Centers until we return to an excellent level of call center responsiveness.
“We are glad to report that we are making progress. While call hold times still remain too long, they are falling. We will continue to hold the contractor accountable and report on this and other issues to the Board during our public meetings as we always have.
“We would like to assure you that FRTIB [the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board] takes all these concerns seriously and their full resolution remains our highest priority.”