Mon. Feb 6th, 2023

Separately, two bills aimed at preventing the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Washington, from investing Thrift Savings Plan assets in Chinese companies have been introduced in the Senate.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on May 18 introduced the Prohibiting TSP Investment in China Act, which would prevent “the TSP Fund from investing in any security of a Chinese company,” according to a news release from Mr. Tuberville.

And on May 20, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Todd Young, R-Ind., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced the Taxpayers and Savers Protection Act, which would conditionally ban the investment of Thrift Savings Plan funds in securities listed on Chinese exchanges, according to a news release. Moreover, it would prohibit investment in issuers listed on foreign securities exchanges where the U.S. Public Company Accounting and Oversight Board has not issued an audit inspection and where the PCAOB is prevented from conducting such inspections.

The bill, which was first introduced in November, during the previous congressional session, was introduced in the House on May 25 by Rep. Mike Waltz, R. Fla.

The Thrift board administers the $757.8 billion Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement system for 6.3 million federal employees and members of the uniformed services.

Investing TSP assets in Chinese companies developed into a major controversy in 2019 and early 2020.

In November 2019, the board reaffirmed a 2017 decision to shift the TSP’s I Fund benchmark to the MSCI ACWI ex-U.S. Investible Market index from the MSCI EAFE index. The new index was made up of about 8% Chinese companies, according to an Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting study presented to the board in October 2019.

But the planned shift never took place after President Donald Trump in May 2020 nominated three people to the five-member board that, upon Senate confirmation, could have led to a new majority.

Those Trump nominees were never confirmed by the Senate, however, and President Joe Biden pulled their nominations in February. Mr. Biden has yet to put forth his own nominees.

By senior