06/29/2009 | By Allen Kenney
New legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 23 authorizes the administrators of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the federal government's defined contribution retirement program, to expand participants' investment options, potentially including distinct REIT funds.
The measure was written into the bill that granted regulatory authority over the tobacco industry to the Food and Drug Administration. The provision allows for the creation of a "mutual fund window" through which TSP participants could access additional investment funds, such as REITs and socially responsible investment funds.
It is left to the discretion of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the plan, to determine if expanding the TSP's investment options "would be in the best interests of participants."
"The action by Congress authorizing the Thrift Savings Plan to offer a wider array of investment choices to its participants is consistent with best practices in the private sector and a step in the right direction. A mutual fund window will provide government employees and retirees access to all distinct asset classes in order to build well-diversified, long-term retirement portfolios," said Michael Grupe, NAREIT's executive vice president of research and investor outreach.