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Response on Elimination of Calvert

We wish to respond to the letter from Stephen W. Thompson (Almanac January 13), regarding the elimination of Calvert as an investment option in the TaxDeferred Annuity (TDA) plan.

First, we would like to point out that a great deal of time and research was put into this decision. Factors such as overall participation, employee satisfaction levels, investment returns relative to other carriers, and the availability of comparable investment vehicles were all taken into account in addition to cost considerations.

One of the factors in the initial selection of the Calvert investment vehicle was the availability of a socially responsible investment vehicle. Recently however, a number of participants in the Calvert fund have requested that their accounts be transferred to the other carriers, bringing the participation in the fund down to a very low level. Participants who want to remain in a socially responsible fund have requested transfers to TIAA/CREF, which offers a similar fund with the same investment parameters and goals as those of the Calvert fund. Other participants have moved to the funds in the Vanguard Group. Both TIAA/CREF and Vanguard have a multitude of funds that include companies that are socially responsible, even if that is not their sole objective. TIAA/CREF has 10 investment options while Vanguard has over 50 fund options, ranging from minimal risk to very aggressive investments. Employees utilizing either or both of these providers have virtually unlimited ways to diversify and find investment vehicles which suit their needs and goals.

We in Human Resources have always maintained that one of our objectives in providing retirement benefits is to balance the availability of a diverse base of investment options for TDA participants and holding the line on the rapidly rising cost of employee benefits administration.

-- Jack Heuer, Vice President, Human Resources

Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. During weekly publication, short timely letters on University issues can be accepted Thursday noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated.-Ed.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, January 20, 1998, Volume 44, Number 18