SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Public Employees' Retirement System may provide investment advice to participants in its $153 million deferred compensation plan by this fall, making it one of the first public plans to offer the service.
"We are exploring it and it is likely we will be offering investment advice in the near future for the 457 plan," said Dave Mullins, chief of CalPERS defined contribution plans.
While the Sacramento-based fund has not determined how it will select an advice provider, plan officials already are acquainted with Financial Engines Inc., Palo Alto, Calif. The plan's record keeper, State Street Global Advisors, Boston, has a relationship with Financial Engines; and the firm's founder, William F. Sharpe, is an adviser to the investment committee for CalPERS' $166 billion defined benefit plan.
"We're aiming at adding advice sometime in the July through September time frame," Mr. Mullins said. He denied, however, that any investment advice provider has the inside track.
Driving the move to add investment advice is making the newly revamped 457 program even more attractive to plan participants.
Participation in the CalPERS 457 Public Agency Deferred Compensation Program has been rising at a consistent clip, Mr. Mullins said. Participation grew 30.4% between Dec. 31, 1998, and Dec. 31, 1999; and assets increased 52% during the period, according to data supplied by CalPERS.
What's more, between July 1 and Feb. 29, participation grew 22.4% and assets grew 34%, Mr. Mullins said.