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TSP delays new record keeping section

      WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal Thrift Savings Plan investors who are looking forward to the daily  transactions promised by a new record keeping system will have to wait at least another two months.

      Officials of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees TSP, announced that the new system will debut in November instead of September, as previously reported. They said they will firm up the schedule in September based on the results of ongoing data conversion and system testing.

      In general, the new system will allow for daily account valuations and daily transaction processing. 

      It also will report account balances in both shares and dollars, offer a

greater number of withdrawal options, and provide online service for loans and withdrawals.

      The new system was developed on time and within budget, officials said. Its debut is being delayed, however, to ensure all its functions are fully tested in parallel with the current record keeping system.

      "Parallel testing," they said, involves running both systems separately using the same, real data submissions from participants.

      They said the testing has not been conducted because the several billion TSP investor records created since the plan started in 1987 took longer than expected to convert for the new system.

      They said analysts are screening records now to confirm accurate, complete conversions.

      The TSP is similar to 401(k) retirement investment plans offered by private-sector companies.

      Nearly 3 million civilian employees and uniformed service members have TSP accounts totaling some $98 billion, officials said.

      A leaflet, "How the TSP Is Changing," summarizes the changes and is available on the TSP Web site www.tsp.gov.

 (From the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.)

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