Thursday January 08, 2004

I'm Back!

Sorry for the long absence from this blog - I have been busy with life and business and have neglected the blog! My next Teachers Advocate will be out very soon and will have updates from the last two months of what has been happening in the world of teachers and retirement plans. you can view it at

AB 2506

I just returned from a trip to Sacramento where we had another Advisory Committee meeting on AB 2506. For those of you who don't know what AB 2506 is - it is a bill that is being implemented by CalSTRS that will create a registration process (for 403(b) vendors) and a databank that will allow comparison and disclosure of 403(b) plans sold to educators. I believe this is an important project and the the rest of the nation is wathching to see how this turns out. What follows is my update:

The project is being led by Eric Norton, a project manager hired by CalSTRS and the project is overseen by Ed Derman (Deputy CEO) & Jack Ehnes (CEO of CalSTRS). I think Eric and his team are doing an incredible job and I am quite impressed at the progress being made and excited about the debut of the website, . The website will make its debut on July 1st, 2004. I have scene preliminary screen shots of the project and can assure you that it is going to look great. I believe that the educators who are eligible for 403(b) products will be very happy with this new tool. The project is still far from complete, the next 6 months are very critical and their are a lot of details still to be worked out, but overall everything seems to be on track. The meeting today officially unveiled the website name and dealt mainly with the search functionality of the website - there was a lot of disagreement among the attendees as to what should and shouldn't be allowed in a search function. I think the discussion was very constructive and that the Project team will be able to further refine their plans for this important function. I would like to hear from the readers on this one - please e-mail me at and let me know what is important to you when attempting to find a 403(b) product. In other words, what criteria would you like to see available to be able to be searched on.

The most important aspect of the new site will be the educational content - the project teamed unveiled prelimiary topics today and I think that by the time everything is finished it will be rich in valuable content. This site promises to be very educational, in short it will be a great tool. Despite some vendor negativity I thought the meeting went well and the project is on track. There will always be people who want to see this project get derailed or watered down and their presence is felt in the room, but rest assured that myself and many other people (including the good people at CalSTRS) are 100% behind this project and have the educator in mind - a first in the 403(b) world!!!! (Only slightly joking!!).

Ok - I am tired and need some rest, I'll write on some other topics soon.