Upward swing in TSP returns during October

The Thrift Savings Plan continued its positive trend last month, as all funds showed either gains or held steady compared to September.

While the difference of the last 31 days was minor, it’s a stark contrast from the performance a year ago, when all of them had negative monthly returns.

According to returns released by TSP on Friday, aside from the stable government securities investment G fund, which flatlined month over month at 0.14%, all other funds increased in October.

The small capitalization stock index S fund has the largest increase among the TSP stock funds, going from 1.06% in September to 1.93% in October. It was followed by the fixed income investment F fund, which rose from -0.54% in September to 0.28% last month.

Next was the international stock index I fund, which saw a gain of 0.73%, going from 2.87% in September to 3.60% in October.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is reconsidering its plans to move the I fund to a new benchmark of emerging markets, which includes China. This is after a bipartisan group of senators expressed concern back in August with the TSP’s plan, Federal News Network reported.

The I fund currently benchmarks Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East Index (MSCI EAFE). In the future, the fund will move to Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Ex-US Investable Market Index (MSCI ACWI Ex-US IMI), which covers 22 developed and 26 emerging markets and consists of large, mid- and small-cap stocks from more than 6,000 companies.

And finally, the common stock index investment C fund rose by 0.29% to a return of 2.16% last month, versus 1.87% in September, according to Friday’s release.

Each of TSP’s lifecycle funds also showed gains month over month, with the L 2050 rising the most: 2.20% in October compared to 1.69% in September. The smallest gains were in the L 2020, which went from 0.63% in September to 0.79% in October.

Meanwhile, the L Income fund, L 2030 and L 2040 grew by 0.19%, 0.39% and 0.45%, respectively.

Looking at the funds’ performance in October 2018, last month showed noticeable growth. The largest gains were in the S and I funds, which rose by 11.99% and 11.54%, respectively, between October 2018 and last month. However, the G fund actually declined by 0.12% last month compared to a year ago.

In general, the TSP has seen an increase in activity lately as FRTIB unveiled new withdrawal options two months ago. As FNN reported this week, in-service withdrawals from TSP participants were up by 372% last month compared to September 2018. Notably, active feds who are at least 59-and-a-half years old made 8,701 withdrawals last month, compared to 1,842 in-service withdrawals in September 2018.

Thrift Savings Plan — Oct. 2019 Returns
Fund October Year-to-Date Last 12 Months
G fund 0.14% 1.93% 2.46%
F fund 0.28% 8.82% 11.50%
C fund 2.16% 23.14% 14.31%
S fund 1.93% 19.83% 9.07%
I fund 3.60% 17.28% 11.48%
L Income 0.70% 6.06% 5.21%
L 2020 0.79% 7.55% 5.89%
L 2030 1.67% 13.47% 9.28%
L 2040 1.95% 15.72% 10.45%
L 2050 2.20% 17.61% 11.36%

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