Redesign of the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan

 February 21, 2018

TO:  Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers
FROM:  Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration
RE:  Redesign of the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan

In the coming year, Duke will redesign the Faculty and Staff Retirement Plan to streamline options and administration as part of its ongoing oversight of its 403(b) retirement plan.

Importantly, these changes will not impact Duke’s contribution formula or how much participants can contribute under the IRS threshold. Duke’s retirement plan continues to be one of the most competitive plans across the country.

Currently, Duke’s 403(b) plan is administered through four different retirement service providers: Fidelity, TIAA, Vanguard, and VALIC. Beginning January 2019, Fidelity will become Duke’s primary retirement service provider. This means that Duke participants will access, monitor, and make changes to their 403(b) retirement plan investments through Fidelity. Vanguard and VALIC will no longer be service providers for Duke’s retirement plan beginning in 2019, and TIAA will only continue to offer its traditional fixed annuity product. 

As part of the transition, there will also be changes in the investment lineup available through Duke’s 403(b) retirement plan.

  • Tier 1 – Target-Date Funds:  Will continue to consist of Vanguard’s Target Date Funds that contain a mix of stocks, bonds, and short-term instruments that is more aggressive when a participant is younger and more conservative as retirement approaches.
  • Tier 2 – Core Funds: Will consist of 28 quality investment funds representing the primary asset classes (stocks, bonds, and short-term instruments).
    (NOTE: Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 funds will continue to be monitored and regularly reviewed by Duke’s Investment Advisory Committee).
  • Tier 3 – Self-Directed Brokerage Account: Will include a broad range of investments through a separate self-directed Fidelity brokerage account; however, these funds will not be monitored by Duke’s Investment Advisory Committee, so participants will be responsible for monitoring the holdings and performance of these funds to ensure they remain in line with their investment strategy.

Nothing will change immediately. The transition to Fidelity as Duke’s primary retirement service provider will take place in January 2019. Participants will have ample opportunity during the remainder of 2018 to review options and choose where they want to direct their retirement investments prior to the transition.

Moving to a primary record-keeper will help improve the online enrollment process, simplify account management for participants, and enhance our ability to target segments of participants for improved outcomes.

An email communicating this change to eligible staff members will be sent later today, and additional communications will be scheduled throughout the year in preparation for the transition in January 2019.

In the meanwhile, I encourage you to visit the Retirement Plan Redesign website. On this site you will also find an explainer video, answers to common questions, information sessions that will take place in February and March, and a list of the new investment lineup that will be available on the Fidelity platform later this year.

If you have specific questions not addressed on the website, you can contact a special call center set up for the retirement plan redesign by calling 1-800-823-0172 or by emailing Thank you.