403bCompare Rebirth

Way back in 2000, a group of 403(b) activists lobbied the California state legislature to pass a bill allowing school districts to control their 403(b) vendor list, the bill didn't make it in the original form, but instead became a disclosure bill. The law that was passed created what we now call www.403bcompare.com, a website where all 403(b) vendors in California must register if they want to offer their products to California public schools. They must register and disclose their products. There is no other database like this in the country.

I was involved in both the lobbying and the development of the original website and have provided consulting services to CalSTRS (who operates the site) ever since. I've watched over the past 18 months as the people at CalSTRS worked to redesign and modernize the site, the new site launched this week and I think they've done a great job.

Just a few new features you will see is an expense ratio range (low - medium - high) and a disclosure of whether the product will pay a commission when sold (no data on what the commission would be at this point). Comparisons are now simpler and all the data for mutual fund and annuities are in real time, including performance information. There are also filters to help you exclude certain products and a design that should allow for simpler navigation.

I've linked to a brochure and flyer below and you can watch a few of the videos as well:

CalSTRS Press Release

CalSTRS 403bCompare Flyer

CalSTRS 403bCompare Brochure

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MPAS, AIF
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