The government of Guam Retirement Fund on March 29 released a request for proposals for investment consultant services for the 401(a) defined Contribution Plan and the 457 Deferred Compensation Plan to Fund. According to the RFP "Potential offerors my submit written questions on or before Monday April 17 2006. Responses to the written questions will be made on or before Wednesday April 26 2006." Proposal submissions are due by 5 p.m. on or before May 10.

Paula M. Blas acting director of the government of Guam retirement fund; told the Journal "The RFP to administer the Defined Contribution Plan the Deferred Compensation Plan and the Auxiliary Benefits will be out next month [April]. The RFP is being reviewed and we just have to secure the deadline for the national posting of the RFP." When the RFP to administer Defined Contribution Deferred Compensation and Auxiliary Benefits is released potential offerors will have between 45 to 60 days to submit a proposal.

On April 19 2004 the retirement fund announced an RFP to administer the Defined Contribution Plan and the 457 Plan but Great West Retirement Services protested that the process allowed altered bids prior to the award of the contract and the RFP was withdrawn after the attorney general concurred that the process was faulty (See "Fund in a fix" in the Aug. 8 2005 issue of the Journal.).

The companies who placed bids on the RFP were Administrative Services Corp. Bank of Hawaii Merrill Lynch and Great-West Retirement Services (Benefits Corp. "" present administrator of the fund).

Through the Defined Contribution Plan government of Guam employees can receive their money by claiming hardships. In a 2005 interview with the Journal Blas said "More than 304 participants in the Defined Contribution Plan cleaned out the available portions of retirement-plan accounts in 2004 by claiming hardships "" mostly for medical emergencies or to prevent foreclosures. They are allowed to take hardship distributions once a year." She said the hardship distributions spiked last year up from 230 in 2003.

The enrollment scale was 50-50 in 2004 and tipped in favor of the DC plan for the first time in 2005. At the end of June there were 5 418 active D.C. participants compared to 4 576 in the Defined Benefit Plan. The assets of the Defined Benefit Plan at the end of June amounted to $1.24 billion while the Defined Contribution Plan’s assets weighed in at $114.04 million. The 457 Plan had $5.4 million stashed away. MBJ