Teacher Pension System’s Winning Web Program Gives Educators Sound Investment Tool

News release

 Sacramento, CA  – A state-of-the-art personal investment Web site, administered by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, has received recognition from a national retirement organization.

403bCompare.com received the 2005 Leadership Recognition Award from the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators. The CalSTRS-managed Web program was selected because it exhibits outstanding communication that serves as a comprehensive and effective tool to educate users.

“We are happy to receive this recognition and proud to have had a hand in creating the first Web site of this kind in the country,” said Jack Ehnes, Chief Executive Officer of CalSTRS. “403bCompare.com has the potential to change the way California school employees select their retirement savings investment options.”

The site allows school employees to go online free of charge to search 403(b) products, place three of them side-by-side and compare their features, including fund descriptions, fees and returns.

“This will be an invaluable retirement planning tool for our members. It’s good to have a wide variety of choices, but there are so many products available that employees have found it difficult to make sound decisions that result in adequate diversification – until now,” said Ehnes.

State Assembly Bill 2506, enacted in 2002 required that CalSTRS create and implement an online information bank of 403(b) vendors and investment products, including mutual funds, fixed annuities, variable annuities and equity indexed annuities.

According to CalSTRS, educators and other school employees who seek the tax-deferred benefits of a 403(b) tend to get locked into products with high fees that, in some cases, negate the tax-deferred benefits of their investment.

Since the site’s inception on November 30, 2004, there have been more than 250 tax-deferred products offered by 87 vendors, averaging more than 170,000 page views.

The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators is a nationwide organization of government and private employers that administer pension plans from 50 states. Its purpose is to work to improve pension plans through sharing of information.

CalSTRS is the third-largest public pension fund in the United States. It provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to California’s public school teachers from kindergarten through community college, serving more than 755,000 members and their families. Visit 403bCompare.com for more information on the program.