California Secure Choice seeks general consultant, names first executive director

The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board, Sacramento, issued an RFP for general consulting services for the new state-run retirement program for private-sector workers at the same time its chairman, Treasurer John Chiang, announced the hiring of Kathleen Selenski as executive director for the secure choice program.

Marc Lifsher, a spokesman for Mr. Chiang, said in an interview that the treasurer remains committed to the program, despite action by the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 15 repealing an Obama administration Department of Labor rule that exempted the California Secure Choice and programs in other states from ERISA.

The measure has not yet been voted on by the U.S. Senate, but Mr. Lifsher said Mr. Chiang feels the state has the legal right to launch the program regardless of Senate approval.

The program, which would require California employers to offer a retirement plan for employees not currently covered under a plan and to be funded by the workers, is opposed by key members of the investment community.

The RFP calls for a general consultant with expertise on the state-run retirement program industry, including trends, marketing and distribution strategies and investment management.

The consultant will work with the secure choice program staff in designing and implementing the program, and will provide a second opinion on investment matters, but will not be the primary investment consultant. The selected firm will also assist in drafting RFPs for investment consulting and other services. The plan does not yet have an investment consultant or an investment manager, both which are expected to be hired in the future.Proposals are due by 4 p.m. PDT May 22. A final hiring decision is expected by June 15. The proposed start date is July 3.

A copy of the RFP is available on a state website.

On the new executive director appointment, Mr. Chiang said in a news release that Ms. Selenski had served as the state policy director at the Pew Charitable Trust's Public Sector Retirement Systems Project. In that role, she led a team that advises state and city policymakers on improving public sector retirement systems.

The state hopes to begin the secure choice program by 2019.