Pay Period End Date: March 18, 2017
Funds for this contribution should be transferred to the program providers within three to five business days from the date of this update. Your provider may require several additional days to process the allocation and post the funds to your account.
VALIC Portfolio Director Annuity Funds
The DHE reduced the number of investment funds available under the Portfolio Director Annuity (PD). The fund line-up is now comprised of six funds.
Additionally, no new contributions may be made to the PD.
The PD was originally adopted by the Commonwealth as a funding vehicle in the ORP at the Plan’s inception, in 1995. VALIC introduced a Mutual Fund platform for participants in 2010.
The original fund line-up included upwards of 100 funds. The DHE has been reducing the number of funds over time.
The PD’s new six fund line-up provides ample opportunity for participants still holding assets in that product to diversify their investments across a reasonable array of asset classes. VALIC recently sent a letter about the reduction to affected participants. The letter included a list of the remaining funds.
The DHE worked closely with VALIC to “map” assets from all other PD funds to the six funds that remain.
Participants holding assets in the PD might consider transferring to VALIC’s Mutual Fund platform (RSVP). The RSVP offering includes a wide array of fund types and asset classes. Moreover, fund expense ratios in the RSVP are generally lower than those in the Portfolio Director product.
Please note that if participants move funds out of the PD’s Fixed Account Plus, they will lose the minimum guaranteed interest rate of 3%.
Clearly, moving PD assets to the Mutual Fund platform requires serious consideration. Participants still holding the PD funds should talk with their VALIC Adviser to ensure their understanding of the funds and each product’s features.
The DHE has been calculating and remitting the Employer Contributions on a steady routine, within two weeks following each biweekly pay day. We anticipate staying on this schedule in the future. The Employer Contribution for the pay period that ended May 26 is being allocated now.
We have the calculation and remittance of the Employer Contribution back on its biweekly cycle. While we were “on cycle” early in the year, some network changes resulted in us falling behind for the month of February.
The Employer Contribution allocation for the pay period that ended March 17 has been completed. The allocation files have been sent to the Providers. The cash remittance should be made on Tuesday, April 9, 2018.
We anticipate the Employer Contribution for the pay period that ended March 31 to be calculated and remitted during the week of April 9, or the following week (16th).
CRITICAL S60 TRANSFER TIMING: 120-day Window
To MSERS Members with TIAA Traditional Account Assets Who are Retiring or Otherwise Terminating Employment: With the end of the academic year approaching, those MSERS members who have changed plans under Section 60 and who still hold assets in the TIAA Traditional Account must consider their termination of employment (with the Commonwealth) as the best opportunity to remit any funds that remain in the Traditional Account and are still due the Retirement Board, in a single sum. Click here for detailed information about this important matter.
Section 60 Status: To-date, the DHE and Retirement Board have completed Section 60 asset transfers for 1,331 participants. The total amount of ORP assets transferred to the Retirement Board is $270M.
The Retirement Board has completed its updated calculations of service and cost for an additional 104 participants. The DHE is currently working to research and submit requests for asset transfers to the respective Providers for these participants. These cases are managed chronologically, by the date the Retirement Board enters its updated service and cost calculation results in the Section 60 database that the two agencies share.
Currently, 28 of the 104 pending transfers are delayed for a variety of reasons, including paperwork issues*, source allocation corrections with Providers, and revisions to service and/or cost calculations at the Retirement Board.
TIAA Traditional Account Update: As all participants using TIAA should know, assets held in the TIAA Traditional Account cannot be transferred to the Retirement Board in a single sum. Hence, assets in the Traditional Account remain in the ORP.
However, some or all of these Traditional Account assets are still due the Commonwealth under the terms of Section 60. Accordingly, the Retirement Board reports that it can, and will, withhold a MSERS member’s pension where these assets remain due but unpaid at the time of an individual’s retirement.
Under the terms of Section 60, participants who change plans must forfeit all rights to ORP assets attributable to the Commonwealth’s Employer Contributions. This approach obviates the accrual of employer-funded benefits under two plans for the same period of service.
Additionally, all ORP assets attributable to each participant’s own Employee Contributions must be remitted to the Retirement Board. These employee assets conveyed from the Traditional Account to the Retirement Board would be net of other, personal funds used to complete one’s S60 service purchase at and after the DHE’s initial attempt to transfer ORP assets to the Board. Additional information about this will be included in the FAQ section.
When & How to Transfer Traditional Account Holdings: The Retirement Board is currently working to determine “if, when and how” the TIAA Traditional Account assets can be remitted to the Board.
At this time, the Board is not positioned to receive installment remittances from the TIAA Transfer Payout Annuity.
Consequently, it appears that in most cases, payment of TIAA Traditional assets may not be possible until the member’s termination of employment with the Commonwealth. At that time, a lump sum distribution of the Traditional Account assets is available to each participant.
This method of accessing these assets requires careful planning and timing. Click here for more information about this matter.
Additional information about this will be included in the FAQ section. Members should monitor the Retirement Board’s web site for updated information about transferring Traditional Account assets to the Board under Section 60.
“Employer Assets” Reminder: Under the terms of Section 60, ORP assets attributable to the Commonwealth’s Employer Contributions cannot be used to purchase service. These assets must be remitted to the state’s Pension Reserve Fund, which pays the Commonwealth’s share of each MSERS Retiree’s monthly pension.
Employer Contribution: We experienced some minor delays in remitting the Employer Contribution over the past three pay periods. This was due to turnover in the Retirement Plans Group* which operates the Plan.
The contribution for the pay period that ended January 7 is being posted by the Providers now. These funds should appear in your accounts by February 10.
We are poised to remit and allocate the Employer Contribution for the pay period that ended January 21, within the next ten days.
Investment Advice: All of the ORP Providers offer investment advice to participants. This means the firm can provide specific investment allocation advice for you. You should contact your Provider to learn the details of their (respective) advice service and its related cost.