On August 26th, TIAA-CREF distributed Participant Disclosure Notices to all employees to help all eligible participants in USF retirement plans make informed decisions about the management and investment of funds within those plans.
What is included in the Disclosure Notice?
To help you understand your retirement plans, Participant Disclosure Notices provide both plan and investment related information.
- Plan information – describes the administrative procedures of the plan, including when and how you can make changes to your retirement accounts;
- Investment information – includes performance data (based on one, five and 10-year returns) and benchmark information that compares your investments with alternatives;
- Fee and expense information – outlines the fees that your vendor (TIAA-CREF or Fidelity) charges for their services.
Retirement Plan Fees
Fees are an important component to be considered when selecting your investments, as they can have just as much impact on your retirement savings as the performance of your investments and how your investments are allocated.
Generally there are three types of fees, covering:
- General administrative services – associated with the day-to-day operations of the plan by the vendor (TIAA-CREF or Fidelity), such as recordkeeping, accounting, legal services and customer support and communication
- Personalized services – services that are specific to the plan, including loans
- Investment services – representing the largest portion of the plan’s costs, investment services costs are only charged for the investments you actually use. Investment services fees cover costs associated with running the fund, accounting and legal fees, fund manager’s compensation and advertising. These fees are not deducted directly from your account but are paid indirectly through an expense ratio.
An expense ratio is the percentage of assets the vendor charges each year for its services. For example, an expense ratio of 1.5% means that each year 1.5% of the fund’s total assets are used to cover these expenses, and are deducted from the fund assets’ total return. Even small differences in fund expense ratios can become sizable differences in returns over time.
If you have any questions about the Participant Disclosure Notice, or would like other assistance in helping you reach your retirement financial goals, please contact your retirement plan provider (TIAA-CCREFCREF or Fidelity) online, by phone, or when they are on campus at USF.
You can also contact the HR Benefits team at firstname.lastname@example.org.