I am a new member to this forum and I joined after making some changes to my plan in the past month and trying to changes in my wife's district.
I teach in NJ and AXA is in our district at least twice a year and pretty much cornered the market in our schools. I found out that we had Fidelity as one of our approved vendors and since I was 13 years in I was able to avoid the 12 year surrender fees. My wife teaches in a nearby district and AXA is also very prominent in her district. Her district has 3 providers in her town, AXA, AIG/VALIC, and Lincoln. So basically a broker and two insurance companies and the best she can do is pay the .9% fee that Lincoln charges. She is trying to add a new vendor to her town and she is running into some hurdles with the district policies. First, we were pushing Vanguard and had a contact from Vanguard who was very helpful and even spoke to the 403B administrator in her town. The problem is Vanguard does not allow loans against the 403B and the sharing agreement that is standard. The contact at Vanguard said we could probably get by the sharing agreement, but the loan thing is a total killer and unless we can get that removed from the board policy we would not be able to add Vanguard. Fidelity was not as helpful as the loan provision was a potential problem, but they also wanted 10 participants and $1,000,000 assets in order to add them as a vendor. Her district is not very large and that might not be a possibility. T Rowe Price is actually no longer adding school districts into their 403B plan. And finally we talked to TIAA-CREF and they would not give a lot of information without the school administrator on the phone. And their fees seem to be quoted at .42% to .92% which is much better than AXA, but not in the same class as Fideity or Vanguard. Those seem to be the four best low cost 403B vendors and the ones I had her target. If there are any names I am missing please let me know.
So now I am still trying to push Vanguard and I am interested to know if anyone has had a similar problem with a provision in the rules with the board of education and how to get that changed. The ability to take a loan exists with 3 vendors already so adding a vendor that does not allow loans seems perfectly reasonable to me. My wife is meeting with the 403B coordinator next week and is trying to find out all the informationshe can beforehand. The school administrator is being helpful and understands the problem, but it seems her hands are tied by the policies a little bit also.
Also, I have read about ACTS in NJ becoming law in July of 2013 and TIAA-CREF will be a vendor. I tried to call Ed Wade today and eventually got the name James Jefferson who never returned my call. But, if ACTS does become available for all K-12 teachers and she is not able to add Vanguard would she be able to open an account with TIAA-CREF through ACTS despite not being an approved vendor? And would she be able to transfer her assets from her AXA plan she is currently in?
Thanks for any help in advance and I look forward to getting myself and other teachers as informed as we all should be as soon as possible,