Retirement plan options change

10:30:07 AM CDT - Friday, October 06, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

WSU employees who have been investing with Lincoln National or Security Benefit Group as part of the Kansas Board of Regents mandatory retirement plan will not be able to continue those investments after Dec. 30.

Based on the recommendation of a KBOR retirement plan committee, the board has decided to offer two plans instead of four retirement plans.

After the end of the year, TIAA-CREF and ING will be the only two options employees have for making investments.

Anyone who has been investing with Lincoln National or Security Benefit will not lose their retirement assets. At the end of the year, employees who have accounts with those companies may leave existing balances with the providers or move them to TIAA-CREF or ING.

The board decided to retain those two companies after an extensive evaluation was conducted of the four current investment providers taking into account fees, investment options, customer service, technology and financial education, according to a letter from Reginald Robinson, president and CEO of the Board of Regents.

All faculty and unclassified employees working half time or more in a benefits-eligible position at Kansas regents universities are required to participate in the regents' mandatory retirement plan after completing one year of service. Participants contribute 5.5 percent of their annual gross salary, with the university making an additional 8.5 percent contribution.

Classified employees must contribute to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

The retirement plan committee for the Board of Regents, composed of a regents board member and representatives from all six state universities, had received proposals from all four investment companies. It also had consulted with retirement experts at Deloitte Consulting to make the recommendation.

The move to streamline the investment options for employees "represents an effort to more effectively leverage the $2 billion plan assets to improve investment options, reduce fees and enhance services for the 8,000 active participants system-wide," Robinson said in his letter.

The Office of Human Resources at WSU will distribute packets of information about the change in the KBOR retirement plan later this month, when the board makes them available.

The packets will include information about opportunities for individual meetings with company representatives, according to WSU benefits manager Connie Landreth.

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