Toomey Statement on Confirmation of Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Nominees
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today congratulated Mike Gerber of Pennsylvania on his confirmation to serve as a member of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), which oversees the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal workers and retirees. Mr. Gerber was confirmed by voice vote in the U.S. Senate today.
“Mike Gerber is exceptionally well-qualified to serve on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board based on his career in asset management and experience as a trustee of a major public pension system,” said Senator Toomey. “Having known Mike personally for a number of years, I have seen firsthand his open-mindedness and constructive approach to problem solving. I am confident that he will be a valued member of the board, and I congratulate him on his confirmation.”
Ranking Member Toomey also commented on the confirmation of Leona Bridges to serve as a member of FRTIB after receiving written commitments from Ms. Bridges last month.
“I appreciate Ms. Bridges acknowledging that she legally cannot, and will not, direct the TSP to divest any specific stock or class of stocks, such as traditional energy companies. Ms. Bridges has also committed to reviewing the Board’s controversial decision to give proxy voting power to third-party asset managers.”
On May 16, 2022, Ms. Bridges sent a letter to Ranking Member Toomey committing to, among other things:
· Reviewing the FRTIB’s decision to allow third-party asset managers to vote on shareholder resolutions and other matters despite a statutory prohibition against FRTIB engaging in proxy voting,
· Acting solely in the financial interest of TSP participants, and
· Adhering to the statutory restrictions that prohibit FRTIB from directing TSP funds to divest any specific stock or class of stocks, like oil and gas firms, or to invest in ESG index funds that exclude oil and gas stocks.
In July 2021, Senator Toomey and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) raised concerns about whether the TSP asset managers are prioritizing liberal policy objectives over federal employees’ retirement savings. In a letter to FRTIB, the Senators questioned whether BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors (SSGA)—the two asset management companies who manage the TSP—are using their control of proxy votes to pressure other companies to adhere to their own environmental and social policy views.
The TSP is a retirement investment plan available to federal employees and members of the uniformed services. As of December 31, 2020, TSP had 6.2 million participants and more than $735 billion in total assets—$442 billion of which is managed by BlackRock and SSGA. While federal law prohibits the Federal government from exercising voting rights associated with funds in the TSP, the FRTIB has taken the position that this does not apply to third-party asset managers.
Next Article Previous Article