Upgrade Resource Center - FAQ

Questions and Answers

To better serve you, DRS is upgrading many of the tools and resources we offer. Part of the upgrade is the selection of a single service provider to perform recordkeeping for Plan 3 and the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). On March 4, 2016, Empower Retirement will replace ICMA-RC as the record keeper for PERS, SERS and TRS Plan 3 accounts. Empower is currently the record keeper for DCP.

The upgrade primarily affects Plan 3 members. The following questions and answers explain the upcoming changes and the reasons behind those changes.


Last update: Dec. 14 2015
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What is happening?

To better serve you, DRS is upgrading many of the tools and resources we offer. Part of the upgrade is the selection of a single record keeper for Plan 3 and the Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). On March 4, Empower Retirement will replace ICMA-RC as the record keeper for Plan 3. Empower is already the record keeper for DCP.

Who is affected by the upgrade?

The upgrades will primarily affect Plan 3 PERS, SERS and TRS members. Deferred Compensation Program (DCP) participants will also experience some of the upgrades. See How does this upgrade affect DCP?

What do I need to do?

The upgrade is automatic, so you don't need to do anything. But if you would like to follow the upgrades as they take place, follow the upgrade resource center. You can also register for online account access.

Why is this upgrade happening?

Your retirement success is important to us. The March upgrades will position DRS to continue building innovative retirement resources for you. These tools will make it easier and faster for you to manage your retirement accounts. New, personalized technologies will help you make important retirement decisions.

Will my investments change?

Your fund investment options will remain the same. Your contributions will continue to be managed by the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB), as they always have been.

Is anything about Plan 3 changing?

No. Only the record keeper is changing. You'll have the same Plan 3 benefit; the only difference is someone else will be doing the record-keeping paperwork.

How does this upgrade affect DCP customers?

A new combined Plan 3 and DCP website will launch March 4. Your control panel will look a little different when you log in to your DCP account. Also, your quarterly account balance statement and newsletter will have new designs.

What if I have both Plan 3 and DCP?

If you are a member of Plan 3 as well as DCP, your retirement accounts will share the same website, login, phone support and tools for the first time ever.

Why is the record keeper changing?

The DRS contract with ICMA-RC is expiring. Each record keeper cycle, we look at how we can best serve you. In 2014, we issued a Request for Proposals and carefully reviewed the candidates. The process included written proposals, interviews and visits to individual companies. We chose Empower Retirement to serve as record keeper for both Plan 3 and DCP.

Why did DRS select Empower Retirement as the new Plan 3 record keeper?

DRS and Empower have a shared goal: make retirement easier for you. The March upgrades will position DRS to continue building innovative retirement resources for you. These tools will make it easier and faster for you to manage your retirement accounts. New, personalized technologies will help you make important retirement decisions.

When will the change from ICMA-RC to Empower Retirement happen?

Beginning March 4, Empower Retirement will be the new record keeper for Plan 3. You will see updates to the website and call center services when the transition period ends March 4. See What is a transition period?

What does Empower Retirement do?

Empower Retirement is the second-largest retirement services provider in the U.S. Empower has provided recordkeeping to the DRS Deferred Compensation Plan since 2010. Empower works with retirement plans in more than 24 states, including public-service agencies of all sizes.

Can I keep my account information with ICMA-RC?

No. Your Plan 3 account information will automatically transfer to Empower Retirement's record-keeping system. Please note, only the record keeper is changing. DRS will still manage your retirement account(s), and the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) will continue to manage your contributions.

Will these upgrades mean higher recordkeeping fees for Plan 3 and DCP?

No. After March 4, both Plan 3 and DCP recordkeeping fees will be equal to or lower than the current fees.

Will my account be unavailable at any time during the upgrade?

Between 1 pm Feb. 22 and 8 am March 4 (Pacific Time), your account information files will move from ICMA-RC to Empower Retirement. While you will be able to view your Plan 3 online account information during the blackout, your ability to make changes will be limited. Your money will remain invested in the funds you have selected. Once the transition ends March 4, you will be able to make changes as usual.

What is a transition period?

A transition period is a range of time during which your account information moves from one record keeper to another. In the financial industry, this transition period is called a blackout. Access to your account will be limited from Feb. 22 until March 4.

Why do we have a transition period?

This transition period is necessary because ICMA-RC needs to close out your account records and Empower Retirement needs time to load the records.

Will I need to create a new user account after the transition?

No. Your DRS-administered accounts will always be available through online account access.

Will my Plan 3 history and statements still be available? (Can I access my records through ICMA-RC?)

Yes, through May 31, 2016. To view your account history or old statements, use online account access to log in to your old ICMA-RC account.

Why does my ICMA-RC account information show a $0 balance?

The zero balance represents the successful transfer of your account data from ICMA-RC to Empower Retirement The ICMA-RC account will remain at a $0 balance.

How do I find my transferred ICMA-RC account balance?

To view your transferred balance, access your ICMA-RC account history through online account access. Select the plan you want to view (WSIB or Self), then go to "View Transaction History." The last debit out amount listed on this page is your transferred account balance.

How will the change affect retiree payments?

It won't. Retiree payments will continue as scheduled.

How can I learn more about the change of record keeper?

Speak with our specialists at 360-664-7062 or 800-547-6657, option 5. DRS will also update this online resource center as new information becomes available.

Where can I call if I have questions about my Plan 3 account?

Until March 4, 2016, continue to contact ICMA-RC at 888-711-8773. You can also contact DRS anytime at 360-664-7000 or 800-547-6657.

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