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Chicago Public School Single Vendor 403b/457 Plans

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washateria recently posted on the 457 board about their Chicago Public School’s (CPS) 403b and 457 plans. The CPS plans are an impressive improvement over the usual multi-vendor, mostly annuity-based plans most K-12 (K-14?) districts are saddled with. The single provider for the CPS 403b and 457 plans is Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company (GWL&A). There are a small number of mutual funds offered, and no annuities. 
Index funds:
9 Vanguard Target Retirement 20XX Inv, ER 0.13% to 0.16%
Fidelity Total Market Index Inv, ER 0.05%
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Inst, ER 0.10%
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Adm, ER 0.05% 

9 managed funds , ERs 0.33% to 0.94%

How about fees? There are 3 fee levels:
1. There appears to be no additional fees for DIY employees using Online Investment Guidance.
2. There is a $25 annual fee for Online Investment Advice.
3. To have the account managed by AAC (a subsidiary of GWL&A), there’s a fee based on the account balance, starting at 0.1625% (<$100k) and decreasing to 0.0875% (>$400k) in 3 steps.

CPS is one of the largest districts in the country, and perhaps the low fee structure would not be possible in smaller districts? Of course states (CA, WA, etc.) with a law that prohibits a reduction in number of vendors would prevent this sort of improvement. Do you agree with me that a plan like this is interesting and worthy of discussion on 403bwise?  

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Using Search, I see that Tony discovered this CPS 403b and 457 plan back in August, 2015. 

In January 2007, CPS’s 403b vendors were: AIG VALIC, ING, Horace Mann, Hartford, Metlife, CitiStreet, and Prudential. 

VALIC and ING (VOYA) are still grandfathered in the current plan.

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Indeed, Scott helped me with understanding the true fees after I was featured on the Pod with a couple of my students. When we looked in, we found it extremely difficult to clarify the fee structure (took probably a combined 2hrs of phone calls and some math problems looking at paperwork) but discovered, as you point to, that the fees are comparatively low.

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