State of Connecticut

This page was last updated on: April 15, 2011

I. STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES

The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), on behalf of the State of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Employees Retirement Commission, is soliciting proposals from contractors qualified to serve as Third Party Administrator (TPA) for its 457 plan, 403(b) plan, and Alternate Retirement Program during the period from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2009. OSC anticipates that during the course of the four-year agreement it seeks to negotiate, the TPA selected will face two over-arching administrative tasks, as follows:

Phase 1. Transitioning the Existing 457(b) plan. Start Date: July 1, 2005. The TPA will be responsible for transitioning participants from the three authorized institutions of the existing 457 Program into its new administrative environment and, working with the Retirement & Benefit Services Division (RBSD) of the OSC and third-party fiduciary advisors, improving the investment offerings. A major objective of this phase will be to introduce lower-priced investment choices and increase the diversity of investment options available to participants. The TPA will be responsible for developing an account transfer communication plan to encourage participant transfers and a mapping strategy for those participants who make no transfer election.

Phase 2. Transitioning the Existing 403(b) plan and Alternate Retirement Program (ARP). Start Date: January 1, 2006. The TPA will be responsible for transitioning participants from the six authorized institutions of the existing 403(b) Plan and the investment choices from a single provider in the existing ARP into its new administrative environment and, working with the RBSD, improving the investment offerings. After January 1, 2006, all new contributions will be invested in the new plan choices. However, unlike the 457 plan, old account balances may not be mappable from the existing providers—participants may need to make elections to transfer existing assets to the new administrative environment. The TPA should develop a strategy to encourage individual participant transfers that minimizes disruption of participant accounts. 

In addition to establishing the new administrative environment, the TPA will be responsible for establishing and maintaining a financial education program for participants in all three plans and an IRS compliance program for the 457(b), 403(b) and ARP.

II. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

457 Plan

The 457 Program was established in 1974 in accordance with provisions of Public Act No. 73-578 (codified as Connecticut General Statutes, Section 5-264a). Section 5-264a has been revised several times since 1973, but the benefit offered to state employees has not changed substantially. Under Internal Revenue Code, Section 457, state employees can enter into agreements with their employer to defer payment of a defined portion of current compensation until retirement or separation from service. The advantages offered to state employees for participating in the 457 Program include the ability to defer paying income tax on the deferred amount until it is paid or made available to them and, at the same time, serve as a way to save for retirement. As provided by the Connecticut General Statutes, the administration of the 457 Program shall be under the direction of OSC, which is empowered to enter into contracts with state employees to defer earned income and with financial service organizations to provide the necessary investment vehicles. There are currently three such authorized institutions:

  1. ING Financial Advisors, LLC.
  2. The Hartford
  3. Phoenix investment Partners, Ltd.

The authorized institutions are responsible for explaining the advantages, as well as any disadvantages, to state employees who may be considering participating in the 457 Program. The insurance companies maintain the records of all participants, provide quarterly reporting to each participant, and are the investors of the funds in the 457 Program. Each of the authorized institutions offers a selection of investment possibilities to the participants. Although OSC is responsible for "due care" in selecting the providers approving the investment vehicles, the participants assume the risk of any loss from decreases in the values of the 457 Program's assets. Since the TPA will assume all responsibilities currently assumed by the current insurance company vendors, their contracts with OSC will be terminated as of June 30, 2005.

As allowed under the Connecticut General Statutes, OSC is under contract with Mellon HR as a limited scope TPA. Mellon has been compensated under agreements it negotiates with the authorized institutions of the 457 Program. OSC anticipates that Mellon's responsibilities will be assumed by the TPA and, for this reason, the limited scope TPA agreement will be also be terminated. 

Currently, approximately 26,000 participants with over $950 million in assets contribute to the 457 plan. Estimated annual contributions exceed $90 million.

Alternate Retirement Program

The Alternate Retirement Program (ARP) was established by P.A. 75-636 in 1975 and enrollment in the plan began in 1976. Since its inception, TIAA-CREF has been the sole financial services organization for the plan. The ARP qualifies under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. The State of Connecticut contributes 8% of pay to the plan and participants pay 5%.

As a general proposition, unclassified employees of the following state agencies are eligible to participate in the ARP: (1) University of Connecticut, including the University of Connecticut Health Center; (2) State Universities, including the Board of Trustees; (3) Community-Technical Colleges, including the Board of Trustees; (4) Department of Higher Education central office staff. At the current time, approximately 8,500 employees are actively contributing to the ARP. The Plan has approximately $1 billion in assets, with over $24 million in employee contributions and $38 million in employer contributions added annually.

Until July, 1992, the ARP was funded with individual retirement annuity contracts with TIAA-CREF. Since July, 1992, the ARP has been funded with TIAA-CREF group retirement annuity contracts.

403(b) Plan

The 403(b) Program is an employer-sponsored, tax-sheltered retirement supplement, similar to the Connecticut Deferred Compensation (457) Plan. However, unlike the 457 Plan, which is open to all employees, the 403(b) Program is available only to state educational employees. As a general proposition, employees of the following state agencies are eligible to participate in the 403(b) Program: (1) University of Connecticut, including the University of Connecticut Health Center; (2) State Universities, including the Board of Trustees; (3) Community-Technical Colleges, including the Board of Trustees; (4) Department of Higher Education; (5) Department of Education, including the Vocational-Technical High Schools; (6) Department of Correction, Unified School District No.1; (7) Department of Children and Families, Unified School District No. 2; and, (8) Department of Mental Retardation, Unified School District No. 3. At the current time, approximately 5,600 employees are actively contributing to the 403(b) Program.

Recognizing the 403(b) Program to be in need of reform and modernization, the General Assembly transferred responsibility for its management to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). At the time of transfer of authority, sixty-six vendors participated in the 403(b) Program. Consistent with this grant of legislative authority, OSC pursued a number of improvements in the 403(b) Program, including the competitive selection of six authorized Financial Services Organizations (FSOs). The following six FSOs were chosen effective July, 2002:

Fidelity Investments Oldham Resource Group
The Hartford TIAA-CREF
ING Travelers Life & Annuity

Currently, 5,600 participants with approximately $400 million in assets actively contribute to the 403(b) plan. Annual employee contributions equal about $40 million.

Information about all three plans is available at: www.osc.state.ct.us/empret/

III. DISCUSSION

The State is interested in replacing the current administrative structure with a TPA arrangement. The goal is to establish a centrally-administered, institutionally-priced platform that will enable the state to offer improved services and investment offerings to participants at a substantially lower price.

Under the current arrangement, financial education seminars and other meetings with participants have been difficult to arrange due to the multi-vendor environment. In addition, IRS compliance problems have existed. In particular, contribution and catch-up limits have been difficult to track with multiple vendors.

For the 457 plan transition, all new contributions after July 1, 2005 will be made to investment options on the new platform. Participants will be given sufficient time to choose new investment options. Participants who do not make an election will be mapped to similar funds on the new platform. Contractors should discuss in their proposal how they would propose transitioning participants in the existing guaranteed fixed accounts of ING, The Hartford, and Phoenix.

For the 403(b) and ARP transitions, all new contributions after January 1, 2006, will be made to the investment options on the new platform. Since participants will have considerable lead-time to select new investment choices, it is anticipated that most participants will have made selections by January 1, 2006. However, unlike the 457 plan, new contributions and existing assets cannot be mapped to the new platform. Contractors should discuss how they propose to work with the state to ensure that participants transfer accounts to the new platform. 

Proposed Changes 

The goals for the new plan design are to offer more and better investment choices, lower fees, central administration, third-party fiduciary advice, improved counseling and other services to participants, and greater fee transparency and accountability to the state.

Minimum Qualifications

In order to be considered, each contractor responding to this RFP must, at a minimum, possess the following qualifications:

A. Organizational Experience

The contractor must have been in operation for at least five continuous years as of December 31, 2004.

B. Professional Experience

The chief administrative officer and account representatives of the TPA must each have at least a three-year history of providing administrative services for Section 457, Section 401(a), 401(k), or Section 403(b) plans as of December 31, 2004.

C. Plans Under Administration

The contractor must have a minimum of five (5) Section 457, Section 401(a) defined contribution, or Section 403(b) plans, each with at least 5,000 participants, to which it provides administrative services as of December 31, 2004. 

SELECTION PROCESS AND SCHEDULE

Request for Proposals and Response Phase

November 23, 2004 Release of RFP by OSC
December 10, 2004 Letters of Intent with contractor email address due at RBSD of the OSC
December 14, 2004 Questions due at osc.dcplans@po.state.ct.us
December 17, 2004 OSC answers questions received via email to all contractors
January 14, 2005 Proposals due at RBSD of the OSC

Review and Selection Schedule

January 15-February 1, 2005 Reading and Scoring of Proposals by Screening Committee
February 1 - 15, 2005 Finalist Interviews see note 1
March 1, 2005 TPA Selection see note 2
March 2- 31, 2005 Contract Negotiations
July 1, 2005 TPA Conversion see note 3

Notes:

  1. Finalist Interviews. Contractors selected for a final interview will be expected to make a presentation, followed by a question and answer period, to the RBSD of the OSC and the Review Committee at OSC Offices in Hartford, Connecticut. The number of finalists to be selected for interviews has yet to be determined; however, the expectation is that this number will not exceed three.
  2. Selection of the TPA is expressly conditioned upon a site visit by up to three OSC representatives, to be conducted at a mutually agreeable date and time. All expenses incurred by OSC in making the site visit shall be borne exclusively by the TPA and treated as a cost of responding to this RFP.
  3. TPA Conversion. It is OSC's expectation that, following the successful conclusion of contract negotiations, the TPA will develop and thereafter follow a work plan which has as its objective the implementation of Phase 1 on July 1, 2005 and Phase 2 on January 1, 2006.

RIGHTS RESERVED TO OSC

OSC reserves the right to award in part, to reject any and all proposals in whole or in part, to waive technical defects, irregularities and omissions if, in its judgement, the best interest of the State will be served.

INSTRUCTIONS TO CONTRACTORS

Conformance - All responses to this RFP must conform to these instructions. Failure to conform may be considered appropriate cause for rejection of the response.

Communication Blackout Period - Except as called for in this RFP, contractors may not communicate with the OSC, the Retirement & Benefit Services Division of the OSC, or members of the State Employees Retirement Commission about the RFP until a TPA is selected.

Letter of Intent - The letter of intent will be due at the offices of the RBSD by 4:30 PM on December 10, 2004. In the letter, the Contractor must provide an email address for communication of information about the RFP, answers to questions submitted by contractors, and other matters about the contractor selection process.

Delivery of Responses - RFP responses must be in sealed envelopes upon which a clear indication has been made of the RFP reference title, as well as the date and time the proposal is due. The name and address of the contractor must appear on the envelope. FAX responses are not acceptable.

Structure of Response - Contractors must structure the responses as outlined in this RFP.

Exclusion of Taxes from Prices - The State of Connecticut is exempt from the payment of excise, transportation, and sales taxes imposed by the Federal Government and the State. Such taxes must be excluded from quoted prices.

Prohibition of Commissions - The State of Connecticut will contract directly with organizations capable of performing the requirements of this RFP. Contractors must be represented directly. Participation by brokers or commissioned agents will not be allowed during the proposal process or during the term of the proposed contract between the TPA and the State. The selected TPA will submit a compensation plan for TPA personnel for approval by the OSC and may not include broker or commissioned agent fees either implicit or explicit in the costs of the TPA contract. The approved plan will be included in the contract between the State and the TPA.

Signature and Responsible Persons - The proposal must be signed by an authorized official. The proposal must also provide name, title, address, and telephone number for individuals with authority to negotiate and contractually bind the contractor, and for those who may be contacted for the purpose of clarifying the information provided.

"Not to Exceed" Quotations - All cost estimates will be considered as "not to exceed" quotations.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Any contractor responding to this RFP must be willing to adhere to the following conditions and must so state in its submission:

  1. Acceptance or Rejection by the State - The state reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals submitted for consideration. All proposals will be kept sealed and safe until the deadline for submission has passed.
  2. Conformance with Statutes - Any contract awarded as a result of this RFP must be in full conformance with statutory requirements of the State of Connecticut.
  3. Ownership of Proposals - All proposals in response to this RFP are to be the sole property of the state, and subject to the provisions of Section 1-19 of the Connecticut General Statutes (Freedom of Information).
  4. Ownership of Subsequent Products - Any product, whether acceptable or unacceptable, developed under the contract awarded as a result of this RFP is to be the sole property of the state unless stated otherwise in the RFP or contract.
  5. Availability of Work Papers - All work papers and data used in the process of performing this project must be available for inspection by the State of Connecticut Auditors of Public Accounts for a period of three (3) years or until audited.
  6. Timing and Sequence - Timing and sequence of events resulting from this RFP will ultimately be determined by the state.
  7. Stability of Proposed Prices - Any price offerings from contractors must be valid for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days from the due date of contractor proposals.
  8. Oral Agreements - Any alleged oral agreement or arrangement made by a contractor with any agency or employee will be superseded by the written agreement.
  9. Amending or Canceling Requests - The state reserves the right to amend or cancel this RFP, prior to the due date and time, if it is in the best interests of the state.
  10. Rejection for Default or Misrepresentation - The state reserves the right to reject the proposal of any contractor which is in default of any prior contract or for misrepresentation.
  11. State's Clerical Errors in Awards - The state reserves the right to correct inaccurate awards resulting from its clerical errors.
  12. Rejection of Qualified Proposals - Proposals are subject to rejection in whole or in part if they limit or modify any of the terms and conditions and/or specifications of the RFP.
  13. Contractor Presentation of Supporting Evidence - A contractor, if requested, must be prepared to present evidence of experience, ability, service facilities, and financial standing necessary to satisfactorily meet the requirements set forth or implied in the proposal.
  14. Changes to Proposal - No additions or changes to the original proposal will be allowed after submittal. While changes are not permitted, clarification at the request of the agency may be required at the contractor's expense.
  15. Collusion - By responding, the contractor implicitly states that the proposal is not made in connection with any competing contractor submitting a separate response to the RFP, and is in all respects fair and without collusion or fraud.
  16. Include a summary of your contractor's experience with affirmative action. This information is to include a summary of your affirmative action plan and your affirmative action policy statement.

IV. PROPOSAL SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

1. The Contractor shall submit an original plus nine (9) copies of its proposal in loose-leaf binders. Proposals shall be submitted to:

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Office of the State Comptroller
Attention: Thomas C. Woodruff, Ph.D.
Director
Retirement & Benefit Services Division
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106

2. Final proposals must be in writing and received before the close of business, 4:30 p.m., January 14, 2005.

3. Proposal should include the following:

The title page should indicate the date, subject, name of the contractor, address, telephone number, name and title of contractor's contact person.

A description of the office that would support the State's activities, including its geographic location, staffing level, the background, experience, and qualifications of personnel, as well as other available resources.

A description of your experience specific to the services requested in this RFP. List all other government agencies, Corporations, and Organizations that you have provided these services for in the past two (2) years. The profile should not exceed four (4) pages.

Complete answers to "Request for Proposal" Section VI.

Samples of reports, policy and procedural recommendations, memoranda, etc., from previous consulting engagements relevant to the scope of work proposed in this contract may be attached to the proposal. It is only necessary to submit one copy of each sample for consideration.

The contractor will submit a detailed line item budget with narrative for each of the three (3) years. The budget should include all personnel and non-personnel costs associated with the implementation and ongoing operations under this contract.

The State of Connecticut is not responsible for any costs incurred by any party in responding to this RFP.

The Proposal must include a summary of the contractor's experience with Affirmative Action. This information is to include a summary of the contractor's affirmative action plan and the contractor's affirmative action policy statement. Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies Section 46a-68j-30(10) requires agencies to consider the following factors when awarding a contract that is subject to contract compliance requirements:

  1. The contractor's success in implementing an affirmative action plan;
  2. The contractor's success in developing an apprenticeship program complying with Section 46a-68-1 to 46a-68-17 of the Connecticut General Statutes, inclusive;
  3. The contractor's promise to develop and implement a successful affirmative action plan;
  4. The contractor's submission of EEO-1 data indicating that the composition of its work force is at or near parity when compared to the racial and sexual composition of the work force in the relevant labor market area; and
  5. The contractor's promise to set aside a portion of the contract for legitimate small contractors and minority business enterprises, where applicable. (See CGS 32-9e)

A "Notification to Contractors" form is attached, which should be read and signed by the contractor. (Attachment I)

Also attached is a Contract Compliance Requirement reporting form, which the contractor must complete and sign, which will be sent to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities by the awarding agency. (Attachment II)

At the contractor's option, an Executive Summary may be included in the Proposal.

V. EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS

Each proposal will be evaluated by a Screening Committee using the following criteria to determine which contractor is most capable of implementing OSC's requirements, as follows:

  1. Contractor's experience with and ability to do the specific work, including experience in the administration of Section 457, 403(b) and 401(a) defined contribution plans.
  2. Contractor's understanding of the plans' purpose and scope, as evidenced by the proposed approach and the level of effort.
  3. Competitiveness of proposed cost to participants.
  4. Scope and suitability of proposed financial education and communication program.
  5. Availability in the state and competence of personnel with the appropriate training and compensation.
  6. Conformity with specifications contained herein.
  7. Demonstration of commitment to affirmative action by full compliance with the regulations of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
  8. At the option of the Screening Committee, an oral presentation.

VI. REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL QUESTIONNAIRE

ORGANIZATION AND HISTORY

  1. Please provide the name(s), title(s), address(es), e-mail address, telephone and fax number(s) of the individual(s) responsible for responding to this request.
  2. Provide a brief overview of your company and history of your organization including an organizational chart of your retirement plan operations. Please describe any parent/subsidiary/affiliate relationships.
  3. Are you currently participating in any alliances or joint marketing efforts? If so, please describe in detail.
  4. Indicate how many years your company has been providing services to defined contribution plans and, more specifically, to 403(b), 401(a) and to governmental 457(b) deferred compensation plans.
  5. Indicate the total value of assets in all defined contribution plans for which you provide recordkeeping services and, more specifically, in 457(b), 401(a) and 403(b) plans.
  6. Indicate the total value of assets and the number of defined contribution plans in the State of Connecticut for which you provide recordkeeping services and, more specifically, in 457(b), 401(a) and 403(b)plans. Indicate the number of personnel you have working on these plans in the State of Connecticut.
  7. Indicate your commitment to government and not-for-profit institutions in the state of Connecticut.
  8. Indicate the total number of participants in all defined contribution plans for which you provide recordkeeping services and more specifically, in 457(b), 401(a) and 403(b) plans.
  9. Please complete the following plan profile tables, using data as of June 30, 2004, to describe your current clientele, as well as your current clientele in the 457(b), 401(a) and 403(b) marketplace. Complete a separate table for each type of plan.
Number of Employees in Plans Total Number Defined Contribution Plans
Under 100  
100-499  
500-999  
1,000-4,999  
Over 5,000  
Total  

 

Plan Assets (M = Millions) Total Number of Defined Contribution Plans
Under $10M  
From $10M to $50M  
From $50M to $100M  
From $100M to $250M  
Over $250M  

10. Please provide a breakdown of the number of clients you service by plan type as a percentage of your total business: 

  Plan Type - Percentage of Total Business
Plan Type Full Service Investment Only Administration Only
401(a)      
401(k)      
403(b) Governmental      
403(b) Non-Governmental      
457(b) Governmental      
457(b)Non-Governmental      
Other      
Total      

11. Please provide your most recent audited financial statement. If the proposing firm is an insurance company please provide your claims paying ability ratings from

  1. A.M. Best
  2. Standard & Poor's
  3. Duff & Phelps
  4. Moody's
  5. Weiss Ratings Inc.

12. Describe any litigation, past or pending, against your organization or on-site service representatives resulting from your current or past involvement with any deferred compensation, defined contribution or public/private pension plan in the past five years.

13. Has your organization or have your service representatives been cited, or reprimanded by any regulatory agency within the past ten years? If so, please describe.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE / CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

  1. Describe your approach to corporate governance.
  2. Do you monitor the companies in the investment portfolios to ensure that each is managed in accordance with sound governance principles? Describe your approach.
  3. Describe your commitment to workplace diversity, including your company's record with respect to appointment of women and minorities to senior management positions.
  4. Describe your company's position on outsourcing of jobs to other companies or overseas. Describe whether any service for the plan (other than fiduciary, investment advisory, and counseling services) including call centers, data processing, plan records, etc., would be outsourced or whether all work in these areas will be accomplished with company employees.

CLIENT SERVICE / QUALITY ASSURANCE

  1. Please describe the team that would deal directly with the State of Connecticut during the conversion and on an ongoing basis.
  2. Describe how the team will be compensated.
  3. What is the average number of clients of similar size to the Connecticut plan managed by the Relationship Manager that will be assigned to our plan?
  4. If the account manager is not exclusive to the State of Connecticut, how many accounts does he or she oversee?
  5. For those employees assigned to the State of Connecticut 's account, briefly describe each member's role and where each member is located.
  6. Please describe the types of defined contribution, 457(b), 401(a) and 403(b) (governmental and nongovernmental) plan training you provide to your new employees before they work on client plans.
  7. How many of your employees' work on defined contribution, 403(b) and 457(b) (governmental and non-governmental) plans?
Functional Area All Plans 403(b) & 457(b) Plans
Financial Record keeping    
Plan Administration    
Client Service    
Technology    
Plan Conversion/Installation    
Total    
  1. Describe your organization's commitment to quality and your philosophy/approach to client services.
  2. Describe your procedures for monitoring:
a. institutional client satisfaction;
b. individual participant satisfaction.
  1. What checks and balances do you have in place to ensure plan administration integrity and accuracy including participant account data?
  2. Are you willing to provide service performance guarantees? Please describe any dollar amounts you are willing to put at risk for each guarantee for which you will commit.

RECORD-KEEPING / ADMINISTRATION

  1. Do you provide one main contact for the daily administrative needs of this Plan?
  2. Do you provide daily valuations? Describe in detail how your system allocates earnings.
  3. What methods of data transmission are available?
  4. Describe in detail how your system processes contributions.
  5. What is the deadline for you to receive contributions and complete the investment of those contributions into the appropriate fund on that same day?
  6. Describe in detail, including timing, how your system processes withdrawals (i.e., in-service and hardship withdrawals). Describe any differences for 457(b) and 403(b) plans.
  7. Describe in detail, including timing, how your system processes the following distributions:
a. lump-sum distributions,
b systematic payments/installments,
c. annuities,
d. rollovers to an eligible retirement plan,
e. required minimum distributions, and
f. distributions of participant accounts under $5,000
  1. Describe in detail your loan processing capabilities, including paperless loan capabilities.
  2. Is direct deposit to a bank account available for distributions, withdrawals and loans?
  3. Are participants able to repay loans from sources other than from the State of Connecticut payroll?
  4. Describe the flexibility or limitations in your loan repayment processing (e.g., additional payments, multiple loans, missed payments).
  5. Describe in detail how your system processes transfers/exchanges (including frequency/limitations). Are confirmations sent?
  6. Please describe your daily protocols and cutoff times for investment transfers between funds.
  7. Describe your process and methods of reallocation (percent and/or dollar).
  8. Can your system recordkeep fixed annuity accounts managed by other companies? Does your system have any limitation regarding fixed annuity accounts with multiple interest rate vintages?
  9. Can employer and employee contributions be tracked separately?
  10. Describe how your system handles Federal and State tax reporting (i.e., Forms 1099-R).
  11. Describe in detail how you administer qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs).
  12. What checks and balances do you have in place to ensure transactional integrity?
  13. In the event of a recordkeeping error within your control, will you be financially responsible for making participants and/or the Plan whole?
  14. Do you provide an administration manual? If so, please provide a sample. Is an administrative manual available on-line?
  15. Do you provide a phone line dedicated specifically to plan sponsors?
  16. Do you have a dedicated plan sponsor Internet site? If so, please describe the services available (e.g., the ability to update Plan information on-line). Please provide us with access information for a demonstration of this site.
  17. Please describe any other administrative services you provide.
  18. Indicate what administrative functions the State of Connecticut must retain (e.g., loans, withdrawals, QDROs, etc.), assuming we maximize the use of your administrative services.
  19. Will you accommodate payment of eligible Plan expenses from Plan assets at the authorization of the State of Connecticut?
  20. Are your access channels (e.g. voice response system, plan sponsor and participant websites, service center, and statements) fully integrated with your recordkeeping systems? Please explain.

REPORTING

  1. Describe the standard reporting package that you provide, as well as the media used (include sample packages). Describe the reports that are available on-line.
  2. Describe any customized or ad hoc reporting capabilities including Internet capabilities. Are there any additional costs associated with customized or ad hoc reporting?
  3. Describe your standard participant-level statements and documents (provide samples).
  4. Can reports/statements be produced on other media? Please describe.
  5. What is the standard time frame for providing each report after the reporting period ends?
  6. Are participant statements available on-line or via e-mail? If yes, when?
  7. Please provide samples of quarterly participant account statements.

VOICE RESPONSE SYSTEM (VRS), INTERNET ACCESS AND CALL CENTER

Voice Response System (VRS)

  1. Describe the services available through your VRS.
  2. How are transactions processed? How are transactions documented? Are written confirmations sent?
  3. Describe how data is secured within the system (i.e., passwords, audit trail, confirmations).
  4. Describe the level of customization available within your VRS.
  5. What are the standard hours of operation?
  6. Are there any transactions that cannot be processed through the VRS?
  7. Is the menu easy for participants to use? Does it include "help" information? Please describe the structure in detail.
  8. May a participant elect to transfer from the VRS to a service representative? When and what services are available?
  9. How often is the data on the VRS updated?
  10. How does the VRS interface with your recordkeeping system?
  11. Will you provide customization for the VRS? If yes, briefly describe the level of customization available on your VRS.
  12. Please explain how VRS passwords are assigned and changed.

Internet Access

  1. Describe the account services and transaction capabilities available through your participant website.
  2. How are website transactions processed and documented?
  3. Are there any transactions that cannot be processed through your website?
  4. Describe how data is secured within the system (i.e., PIN, audit trail, confirmations).
  5. Describe the level of customization available for clients using your Internet services.
  6. What are the standard hours of account access and transactional availability?
  7. If a participant elects to move from the website to a call center service representative, describe the interface between the website and the service representative.
  8. How often is the data on the website updated? How does the website interface with the recordkeeping system?
  9. Please identify your website account access and transactional availability statistics (average availability per month as a percentage).
  10. Have there ever been instances within the last two years where the website was not functioning? If so, please describe frequencies, duration and how problem was resolved.
  11. Please explain how Internet passwords are assigned and changed.

Call Center

  1. Please identify your call center service standards. Please include, for each of the last three calendar quarters, statistics related to actual performance.
a. Number of calls received,
b. Percentage of calls answered,
c. Average length of calls,
d. Average response time,
e. Percentage of calls requiring follow-up,
f. Call abort rate,
g. Percentage of incoming calls totally handled via VRS versus toll-free live service center representative assistance, and
h. Percentage of service requests handled via website versus call center and VRS.
  1. What training is provided to call center representatives before they are allowed to handle incoming calls?
  2. What level of securities licensing do your call center representatives carry?
  3. What is the annual employee turnover rate for your call center representatives?
  4. Do you monitor and/or tape participants' service center calls?
  5. What are your case-management procedures for calls that have service issues?
  6. What information is available to toll-free service representatives to allow them to answer participant questions effectively?
  7. Where is your call center(s) located?

COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION

  1. Briefly describe your background and experience in providing communication and education programs.
  2. Identify the key elements provided as part of a standard communication and education program package included in your proposal.
  3. Identify non-standard elements to a communication and education program you may provide for an additional charge.
  4. Describe separately your initial and on-going communication and education program (including printed material, visits, training, etc.). If the program is tailored to a specific plan sponsor need, identify the critical issues to be determined in designing such a program.
  5. What special educational services do you offer specifically for employees nearing retirement? Can you customize these services to for employees participating in the State Employees Retirement System or other defined benefit plan?
  6. Do you offer forms and communication materials that are specifically customized for your clients?
  7. Can material be customized? If so, briefly describe the level of customization that is available and the cost of such customization.
  8. Do you provide personnel resources as part of on-going education and retirement planning programs? If so, please complete the table below indicating the number of meetings that you will commit to perform annually, and list the subjects that will be covered in your program (no description is necessary).

 

Number of group meetings (minimum of 100)

 

Number of individual meetings (minimum of 500)

 

Total number of service hours

 

Subjects to be covered

 
  1. Do you create all of your communication and education material in-house or through third parties?
  2. Describe the process you use to help plan sponsors measure the effectiveness of employee education efforts.
  3. Does your organization provide any services (e.g., questionnaires, software) that would help individual participants with financial planning? Describe any electronic education tools you provide, both software-based and web-based, to participants and retirees.
  4.  Describe your position on providing investment advice to participants. What fiduciary responsibility do you assume if advice is provided?
  5. Do you offer third-party investment advice? Describe your process, mode and scope of advice. Is there a separate charge?
  6. Describe your education tools or programs designed to support both rollover and non-rollover distributions from the Plan.
  7. Do you provide prospectuses and periodic reports?
  8. Provide samples of initial enrollment and on-going communication and education materials.

CONVERSION PROCESS

  1. Explain your conversion process, including time frame, based on the options available (e.g., mapping, etc.). Please include a timeline that describes necessary actions, responsible parties and target completion dates. Please also provide a one-page outline of your plan for communicating the conversion to participants.
  2. Is a "black-out" period required? If yes, how long is it and what is restricted or not available during that time? Are you willing to schedule the blackout period to occur over a weekend or holiday weekend?
  3. How will distribution, hardship and loan requests be handled during the conversion?
  4. How is investment of new Plan contributions handled during the conversion process?
  5. How will new investment options be communicated to participants?
  6. Do you have a communication plan for former State of Connecticut employees?
  7. What involvement will be required from the State of Connecticut during the conversion process?
  8. Do you provide a dedicated conversion team? If yes, briefly describe each member's role and where each member is located.
  9. Quantify your proposed personnel commitment for the conversion. Include the number of group meetings you will conduct. Provide the names and qualifications of the conversion team.
  10. Describe your process to ensure accurate conversion of all historical data.
  11. Do you have any limitations as to the format/media of conversion records?
  12. How does your system handle the conversion of existing loans and periodic distributions?
  13. How do you monitor the effectiveness and quality of your conversion process and team?

REGULATORY SERVICES

1. Describe in detail how your organization will monitor, cap and/or resolve the following maximum contribution limits for 403(b)/457 participants.

2. What "safeguards" are built into your system to prevent over deferrals from all Plans? How are over deferrals handled? How do you address violations for any of the testing covered in question 1?

3. What fiduciary responsibility does your organization assume?

4. How do you ensure that your record-keeping system is in compliance with all pertinent laws and regulations?

5. How do you keep plan sponsors informed and updated on any regulatory and legislative changes affecting 457(b) , 401(a), and 403(b) plans?

SYSTEMS CAPABILITIES AND HARDWARE

1. Describe the hardware platform and software system you use to recordkeep and administer defined contribution plans.

2. Was the software developed internally, leased, or bought from another provider? Who has the ultimate responsibility to make sure the software is updated to reflect changes in the laws, regulations, client needs, etc.?

3. How often is the system upgraded?

4. Describe the system enhancements you have planned over the next three years for:

5. Describe your documented disaster recovery plan. How often do you test your recovery system?

6. Describe your maintenance and backup procedures including daily backups, retention timetable and off site backup storage approach. Where are your off-site backup facilities located? Are backup records stored in two separate locations.

7. Describe the method of maintaining plan sponsor and participant history on the system and the period such information is maintained.

8. Describe the valuation methods offered by your system.

9. Are internal controls of your recordkeeping system audited by an independent accounting firm on an annual or more frequent basis? If so, please describe such controls and provide a copy of the most recent report.

10. How do you control access to the recordkeeping system? What security precautions are in place?

11. Does the system allow for plan sponsor customization/limits such as:

12. Describe your system's maximum limits with regard to the following:

13. Please provide ongoing transaction layouts if specific layouts are required.

14. Do you provide software that enables plan sponsors to interact with your system? If so, please describe its capabilities and optimal user system requirements.

INVESTMENTS

1. How long have you been providing investment services?

2. Please identify the names by type for all investment vehicles you are proposing.

3. What is the maximum number of investment options that can be handled by your system?

4. In addition to the funds you are proposing, please provide an entire list of the funds available through your proprietary and alliance networks.

5. Please disclose all revenue sharing agreements you have in place with the funds that you are proposing. Note: 12b-1 fees will not be permitted.

6. For each investment vehicle you are proposing, Complete as Exhibit I the following:

a. Name of investment Vehicle
b. Investment vehicle objective/investment philosophy.
c. Investment type (e.g., mutual fund, commingled fund, or separate account).
d. Inception date.
e. Name of the investment/portfolio manager and tenure.
f. Comparative index(s) used by the manager.
g. Withdrawal provisions (including restrictions on transfers).
h. Expense structure that you propose for the State of Connecticut. The fund-level fees should be stripped of all administrative fees possible. Please list an explicit plan administration asset-based fee that will represent the total fee for plan administration. Together, the fund-level fees and the explicit plan administration fees should represent total fees to be paid by plan participants.
i. Morningstar rating (if rated).
j. Ticker symbol.
k. Where appropriate, the standard deviation, alpha, beta, R2, and Sharpe Ratio.

7. For each investment vehicle, provide the 1-year annualized return, and the 3-, 5- and 10-year (or since inception) annualized returns, risk-adjusted returns and annualized standard deviations ending on the last calendar quarter.

8. For any guaranteed return investment, including fixed annuity accounts, describe the current and minimum interest rate guarantees, how interest is credited, and the frequency of rate changes. If interest is credited by vintage or "bucket," how many "buckets" can exist in a participant's account?

9. For a money market investment vehicle, provide the 7-day current yield as of the last three calendar quarter-end dates.

10. Do you offer a brokerage window for participants in 403(b), 457, and 401(a) defined contribution plans? If so, provide a full description. Describe all fees, mutual funds available, and the ability of plan sponsors to determine which mutual funds are available to participants through the window.

11. Do you provide prospectuses to participants following their initial investments in funds? Please provide a prospectus for each fund proposed.

REFERENCES

  1. Please provide five references of current clients of similar plan demographics (e.g_, plan size [assets and participants]). Please provide at least one reference from the State of Connecticut:
Client name
Contact name
Address
Phone number
Services provided
Year they became a client
Plan demographics.
  1. Please provide two references of former clients who had similar plan demographics as described above. Please provide
Client name
Contact name
Address
Phone number
Services provided
Year they became a client
Year they ceased to be a client
Plan demographics.
The reason(s) for departure

MISCELLANEOUS

1. Please provide any additional information you feel may be relevant in evaluating your proposal.

COST PROPOSAL

Please describe your cost proposal and approach towards fees. Please describe your approach to revenue sharing.

SAMPLE PLAN ADMINISTRATION BUDGET

Please Construct a Sample budget for the first three years of plan operations. Assume 457(b) plan implementation July 1, 2005 and 403(b) and ARP implementation on January 1, 2006. The purpose of the sample budget is to demonstrate that your company can provide the necessary plan services within the budget that will be possible from revenue from plan administration fees.

  1. Basic fee for recordkeeping and basic plan administration.
  2. Personnel costs for Plan Representatives.
  3. Plan setup/implementation.
  4. Consulting services for fiduciary and other services.
  5. Enrollment services (materials cost, number of meetings, travel expenses, etc.).
  6. Group education services, including any third-party software or other planning tools.
  7. Payroll processing.
  8. Printing/mailing, etc.
  9. Fund exchange fees.
  10. Distribution fees.
  11. Report / Statement preparation fees.
  12. Interactive voice response.
  13. 1099R preparation.
  14. List any other cost categories that you anticipate.