Federal retirement plan should consider climate change: GAO

The board overseeing the Thrift Savings Plan, which has 6 million active and retired participants, says that it subscribes to a strict indexing discipline.

After reviewing literature and conducting interviews with stakeholders knowledgeable about climate change and financial markets, the Government Accountability Office has found that federal employees saving for retirement in the government’s Thrift Savings Plan could be exposed to financial risks from climate change.

It has recommended that the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees the TSP, evaluate its investment offerings in light of those risks. The GAO report says the board didn’t indicate whether it agreed or disagreed with the recommendation and said that it subscribes to a strict indexing discipline and efficient market theory.

“Climate change is expected to have widespread economic impacts and pose risks to investments held by retirement plans, including the federal government’s TSP,” the GAO said in a release. “As of November 2020, TSP had six million active and retired federal employee participants and nearly $700 billion in assets.”

The GAO said that when it confirms what actions, if any, the agency has taken in response to its recommendation, it will provide updated information.