TSP Targeted Again Over Expansion of International Fund Investments

In 2017, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board voted to change the index upon which the Thrift Savings Plan’s international (I) fund is based on from the MSCI Europe, Australasia and Far East Index to the MSCI All Country World Ex-US Investable Market Index. That change, which moves the I Fund from a largely Euro-centric index to include investments in 48 countries around the world, including China and Canada, is slated for implementation later this year.

But last fall, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., urged the TSP to reconsider that decision, citing in part Chinese companies’ involvement in that country’s human rights abuses. The board overseeing the TSP revisited the decision, but ultimately reaffirmed it, noting that the vast majority of private sector 401(k)s include similar Chinese investments, and the agency has a fiduciary duty to its participants to make decisions that best prepare them for retirement.

Rubio subsequently sent a letter to President Trump, urging him to fire the TSP’s governing board and appoint new members.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that a number of Republican lawmakers and former officials have been quietly lobbying the White House and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia either to fire the board or issue an executive order blocking the index change.

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