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If you participate in the Tennessee Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) and you have not yet taken action in response to the changes made by the State of Tennessee, several key meetings and deadlines are set for this week.

If you participate in the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), no action is necessary and the changes do not affect you.

Beginning July 1, the Tennessee Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) administered by the Treasury Department of the State of Tennessee will begin a new five year contract with ING, TIAA-CREF and VALIC.

These changes mean that no more deposits will be made to any of your current annuity contracts after July 1, but new investments options will be available which include mutual funds.

You may decide to stay with your current provider or change companies, but specific actions are required to confirm those decisions. To designate new investment options and name a beneficiary with your current provider or to change providers effective July 1, the deadline is Friday, May 14.

On Tuesday, May 11, Thursday, May 13 and Friday May 14, representatives from the companies will be on hand at the University Center to answer your questions. You must call or e-mail in advance to arrange an appointment during business hours on any of the three days.

ING Representatives:
-Bernie Reed, Financial Advisor, 865-539-4265 or bernie.j@reed3.com
-Dan Whittaker, Registered Investment Advisor, 865-740-4493 or dan.whittaker@ingfa.com
-Julie Chambers, Registered Investment Advisor, 865-740-4493 or Juliechambers@comcast.net

For a TIAA Representative, call 866-842-2336.

For VALIC appointments, call Andrew Craft at 865-531-9156 or Andrew.Craft@VALIC.com.

Other VALIC representatives are Jay Birkbeck, financial Advisor, or Teresa Lundine, District Manager.

If you take no action, contributions will continue to go to your current provider, but your funds will be defaulted into a target date/life cycle fund (based on retirement at age 65) and your estate will automatically be your beneficiary.

If you wish to stay with your current provider you must contact that provider via your online access, by phone or talk to a representative at the University Center to select the fund allocation of your new contract and designate a beneficiary which will be effective on July 1.

If you wish to change your current provider you must submit the completed Contribution Specification Form to your local HR office by May 14 to be effective July 1. You will also need to complete an online enrollment with each provider with which you wish to participate. You may continue to make changes to your providers and investment options after July 1, just as you have the option to doing at any time during the year.

Among the other benefits of the changes in the state plan include, reduced transaction fees, greater flexibility to change investment options within the plan, greater transparency of fees for service, enhanced investment advice through an internet link and improved service through online transaction capability and online statements.

You should have already received a transition packet from your current provider mailed to your home address. If you did not, it is also available at http://treasury.tn.gov/orp/index.html along with other ORP 2010 Transition Information and additional provider contact information.

If you have questions, please call 865-946-8847 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET. If you are calling from outside the Knoxville area, please call 1-888-444-UTHR.