Thrift Savings Plan Recordkeeping System Still Floundering

February 21, 2003 ( - A much ballyhooed but often delayed effort for a new computer system to bring daily valuation to the federal employees' retirement savings plan is still up in the air.

According to a report on, a launch date for the new recordkeeping system for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is still to be set, despite progress made over the last several months. About three million civilian and military participants have about $100 billion invested in the TSP.

Exasperated TSP board members delayed the new system’s launch indefinitely in October after finding out that it couldn’t handle large numbers of transactions at once – a prerequisite for being able to accomplish the now-standard daily valuation process. Since then, programmers have sectioned off the database into five pieces so the system can finish a system tally in one night, officials say.

In addition to daily valuation, the new system would offer participants more ways to withdraw money and provide online service for loans and withdrawals.

Not only has the troubled system’s launch date been oft postponed (See TSP Daily Valuation Launch Delayed – Again ), but also its price tag continues to climb. Even though the first contractor, American Management Systems of Fairfax, Virginia, was supposed to build the platform for $29.5 million, the estimate had ballooned to nearly $90 million by the time the contractor was fired in July 2001. This week, officials asked the TSP board to ante up another $994,000 to the project to help pay for the parallel testing phase. Materials, Communication & Computers Inc., based in Alexandria, Va., currently manages the effort for the TSP.