House bill would create Federal Retirement Thrift inspector general

Following the troubled rollout of the Thrift Savings Plan’s new online system, a bill to establish an inspector general for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Washington, has been introduced in the House.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Inspector General Act of 2022 on Aug. 30. The bill would amend the Inspector General Act of 1978 to include the Thrift board, which administers the $743 billion Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement plan for 6.5 million federal employees and members of the uniformed services.

The bill is in response to the TSP’s rocky transition to its new online system in June for which its new record keeper, Accenture Federal Services, apologized at the board’s August meeting.

“I am deeply concerned about the widespread problems with the new TSP online system,” Ms. Norton said in a news release Tuesday. “I hear frequently from constituents about the many problems with the new system, including discrepancies in account balances, difficulties accessing accounts, lost beneficiary information and hours-long wait times for customer service. I will continue to demand immediate fixes to the problems, but we need to understand how this debacle occurred and to create new accountability mechanisms at FRTIB, which is why I introduced my bill to establish an inspector general.”

A spokeswoman for the Thrift board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Inspector General Act of 1978 grants the Office of the Inspector General full access to all records and materials available to a specified agency and the authority to determine which audits, investigations, inspections and reviews are necessary. The inspector general can also issue appropriate reports, among other authorities.

Separately, the U.S. Government Accountability Office in August agreed to conduct a comprehensive review on the rollout of the TSP’s online system. The review, which was prompted by a request from Ms. Norton and Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., is expected to begin in November.

The TSP’s new online system launched June 1 when Accenture’s contract began. New plan features include an updated participant login interface; a TSP mobile app and virtual assistant; the ability to electronically sign documents and complete transactions online; and the opening of a mutual fund window, which gives eligible TSP participants access to more than 5,000 mutual funds.