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Comment text, raw:

#### Background

~~I believe some consulting company~~ [Accenture Federal Services](https://accenturefederal.com) / [@AccentureFed](https://twitter.com/AccentureFed) won a new contract back in 2020^1 ~~or so~~ _(the surviving part of the old Arthur Anderson, suggests my poor memory)_.    

- It ~could~ have been a political decision _(e.g. patronage, or perhaps just a general ploy for general ETF folks to make more money by way of having a larger customer base)_ or it may have just been a normal _(but poorly-executed)_ business decision.

**_Previously, TSP maintained its own mainframe servers^2 and contracted out for needed labor. Going forward, all TSP data instead will reside externally, managed by AFS._**

The official name for this morass appears to be _Recordkeeping Services Acquisition (RKSA)_, and the transition process seems to have been internally referred to as the _”Converge program”_ and was led by the _Converge Program Manager_ Tanner Nohe.
> The contracting process started with the analysis of alternatives in 2016 and closed with the final RKSA award on November 13, 2020.^3

_Update:_ H.R.1804, the _Federal Retirement Reform Act of 2009_, was proposed by the 111th Congress (2009-2010); its provisions were rolled into H.R.1256, the _“Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act”_, which passed and became [Public Law 111-31](https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/1256/text) on 6/22/2009.

- This required the TSP to create a plan to offer a “Mutual Fund Window”.
- In 2016, they began a process to determine if they should run this complex new operation ‘in-house’ or outsource it.
- Sometime between 2017 and 2020, it was decided to outsource all bookkeeping operations going forward.
- In November of 2020, the contract with AFS was signed.

**Tl;dr:** Congress asked for a thing, FRTIB decided they didn’t have the staff or experience to do that thing themselves, so the consultants won by agreeing to do the bare minimum.


#### Current state of affairs
They (AFS) now reportedly run the outsourced accounting systems, website, mobile apps, and call centers on behalf of the TSP board/[FRTIB](https://www.frtib.gov/). _(I don’t know if mailed statements are done in-house or outsourced as well)_.    

- AFS also appears to have subcontracted parts of the overall contract to [Alight Solutions](https://alight.com)/[@AlightSolutions](https://twitter.com/AlightSolutions), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce, and ServiceNow.

#### Conjecture
It appears that AFS may have built everything _from scratch_ over the past 12-18 months or so ~~_(likely because either a: the previous consulting company^4 didn’t want to / wasn’t allowed to share its code and customer data, or b: they thought it was ‘easier’ to use their own computer code rather than inheriting the old stuff)_~~, since the intention is to retire use of the TSP mainframes and other equipment _(which were previously housed by the Department of the Interior)_.

There ~may~ have been a hard cutover date _(e.g. 1 July 2022)_ after which the original contractor wouldn’t get paid, in which case TSP may have been forced to roll out the new systems before there was parity with the old ones. _(Update: nope, it appears they thought everything was hunky-dorey until the new systems went live^5. It’s not clear if the board was ever fully informed about some of the risks, such as the loss of historical data.)_

- If this is all just due to lazy computer programmers, perhaps features _(such as loan reamortization)_ will return over time.

**Regardless, we’re stuck with them _(Accenture)_ for 3-12 years, unless the contract is modified in the future.**

#### Aftermath

After a disappointing first month, _Converge Program Manager_ Tanner Nohe [reported to the board in late June](https://www.frtib.gov/meeting_minutes/2022/2022June.pdf):

> Previously, the FRTIB owned and maintained all of the IT systems, all of the applications, the infrastructure, and the security systems. He noted that the previous technology and infrastructure were not agile and not scalable. Converge seeks to bring FRTIB’s offerings more closely in line with best-in-class commercial offerings and to bring the traditional benefits of the TSP to a more modern and efficient platform. **The June 1, 2022 go-live was the culmination of over six years of research, due diligence, and preparation.**

>   _(emphasis mine)_

_Office of Participant Services Director_ Tee Ramos continued:

> Historical account information was not moved into the new system. Data usage rates for historical data were low and costly to include in the new system. Additionally, there were security concerns associated with having so much account data available online. Participants can view 10 years’ worth of balance history online and can request statements and tax forms from the vendor or can obtain balance information verbally from the call center.

> In response to a request from Member Bilyeu, Mr. Ramos indicated that he and Mr. Deo would arrange for the new recordkeeping vendor, Accenture Federal Services (AFS), to make a presentation to the Board regarding lessons learned and improvements going forward. Mr. Deo added that he has had multiple conversations with the head of AFS to ensure she understands the critical nature of the issues.

_See also: [Attachment to the 28 June 2022 board meeting minutes](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/June/Att1-Converge-Update-June2022.pdf)_

#### Unhappy or confused?
Direct any complaints to your elected representatives, union/military leadership, [@NARFEhq](https://twitter.com/NARFEhq), via [@tsp4gov](https://twitter.com/tsp4gov), or to the [TSB board directly](https://www.frtib.gov/contacts/).

##### From the horse’s mouth…
The next public FRTIB board meeting is next week, at 10:00 a.m. EDT Wednesday, August 24th.

>Members of the public who are interested have 2 options to listen to the Board meeting:
>- By phone: [1-202-599-1426](tel://+12025991426) _(conference ID: 272 550 417#;)_
>- By browser [Board Meeting Wednesday, August 24th](https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_MzZlNTRlZDYtNzRhZS00ZjhlLThmNWItNmIwZmE2ZmVkNzRl%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%223f6323b7-e3fd-4f35-b43d-1a7afae5910d%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%227c8d802c-5559-41ed-9868-8bfad5d44af9%22%7d) _(Click that 👈link and choose 'Continue on this browser')_

_(I’m not sure if they are recorded for later listening, but they ~do~ post the [meeting minutes](https://www.frtib.gov/meeting-minutes/) online)_ 

- [2022 meeting calendar](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/board-meetings/2022_Board_Meeting_Calendar_schedule.pdf)


* https://federalnewsnetwork.com/tsp/2020/11/tsp-hires-new-vendor-to-take-the-plan-into-the-21st-century/


- ^1 TSP _Executive Director_ Ravindra Deo signed the new contract on 13 November 2020, as reported by  _Office of Participant Services Director_ Tee Ramos at the [16 November 2020 board meeting](https://www.frtib.gov/meeting_minutes/2020/2020Nov.pdf):

>Accenture Federal Services will partner with Alight Solutions to provide recordkeeping services to the Thrift Savings Plan. Accenture and Alight will provide a number of new services to TSP participants and beneficiaries, including a mutual fund window, electronic signature capability, and a mobile phone application. Mr. Ramos indicated that new features are intended to be available to TSP participants and beneficiaries in 2022.

- ^2 Mainframes are/were? located inside data centers in Pennsylvania and Virginia _(there may have been other locations as well)_, and were new upgraded in 2020:94 later. A new Texas call center for the _ThriftLine_ also opened in 2020.
- ^3 https://www.frtib.gov/meeting_minutes/2021/2021Jan.pdf / [Recordkeeping Services Acquisition (RKSA) Update - January 2021](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2021/Jan/MM-2021Jan-Att8.pdf)
- ^4 The displaced contractor(s) were likely one or more of the following _(based upon a list from a [September 2020 memo](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2020/Sept/MM-2020Sept-Att2.pdf))_:
    - [Broadridge Financial Solutions (BR)](https://www.broadridge.com/about/)
    - [Equinix, Inc. (EQIX)](https://www.equinix.com/about)
    - [Serco Group Plc (SRP)](https://www.serco.com/about)
    - [Fidelity National Information Services (FIS)](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIS_(company\))
    - [Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC)](https://www.saic.com/who-we-are/about-saic)
    - [RA Outdoors, LLC](https://www.linkedin.com/company/ra-outdoors-llc)
    - [DataBank, Ltd.](https://www.databank.com/about-databank/)
- ^5 Program updates _(selected; see monthly meeting minutes for links to others)_:
    - [January 2021](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2021/Jan/MM-2021Jan-Att8.pdf)
    - 2022: [January](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/Jan/MM-2022Jan-Att7.pdf)
 | [February](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/Feb/MM-2022Feb-Att6.pdf)
 | [March](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/Mar/MM-2022Mar-Att6.pdf)
 | [April](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/Apr/MM-2022Apr-Att8.pdf)
 | [May](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/May/Att5-Converge-Update-May-2022.pdf)
 | [June](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/June/Att1-Converge-Update-June2022.pdf)
 | _July - no meeting_
 | [August - tbd](https://www.frtib.gov/meeting_minutes/2022/2022Aug.pdf)
    - Communications samples, with only **_one_** of the many examples mentioning anything at all about the features that would be lost _(i.e. a warning to download historical statements / data that a member might want)_: [May 2022 Communications Update](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2022/May/Att6-OCE-Annual-Report-May-2022.pdf)
 - ^6 [2021/2022 Budget notes from September 2020](https://www.frtib.gov/pdf/minutes/2020/Sept/MM-2020Sept-Att5.pdf), showing estimated  ~$110,000,000 **_annual increase for recordkeeping_** from 2020 levels in 2021 & 2022