MD Looking for 403(b) Plan Provider

June 10, 2010 ( - The Maryland State Retirement Agency has issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking investment and recordkeeping services for its Optional Retirement Program (ORP).

The ORP is available only to eligible employees of Maryland’s public higher education institutions as an alternative to the state’s defined benefit pension plan. A benefits handbook on the MSRA Web site says the plan is a 403(b) plan funded by employer contributions.  

According to an MSRA announcement, higher education employees can currently choose to open an ORP account with one of two vendors, TIAA-CREF or Fidelity.  By the terms of its agreement with the System, Fidelity’s ORP contract expires on December 31, 2010.    

Each vendor accounts for individual allocation of contributions, earnings and withdrawals, provides management and recordkeeping services, produces quarterly individual participant statements, maintains individual participant records, and provides on-site marketing and enrollment services, the announcement said.    

As of December 31, 2009, there were more than 36,000 active and inactive participants in the ORP with about 16,000 contributing.  Total ORP assets were $1.87 billion.  There are 36 institutions around the State of Maryland with eligible employees that participate in the ORP.    

A copy of the RFP can be found at