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February 5, 2015

Pitt Benefits

Retirement plan update

As announced in a letter sent to the homes of all faculty and staff in November 2014, the University is consolidating recordkeeping for the defined contribution program, generally known as the retirement savings program. The effective date of the change will be February 9, 2015.

All current TIAA-CREF and Vanguard investment options will continue to be available. However, TIAA-CREF will become the single-plan service provider for all University of Pittsburgh defined contribution retirement plan participants, which should make it simpler for you to plan for retirement and manage your investments.

There are several advantages to this transition, including:

More than half of the TIAA-CREF and Vanguard investment assets automatically will transfer to a lower-cost share class, and reduce your investment expenses.

Several new investment options will become available to plan participants.

Through the single-plan service provider arrangement, you will have a consolidated account statement that will include your TIAA-CREF and Vanguard investments.

Enrollment and fund selection, asset transfers, and easy access to fund performance information for all investments are available online at one site.

TIAA-CREF FINRA-licensed* financial consultants will be able to provide advice on both Vanguard and TIAA-CREF assets.

You will also have a 360° financial view online with the ability to manage all retirement assets and outside assets in one place.

Detailed information about the transition was sent during the first week in January. This transition guide and other related documents can be found at:

You also can view the online, pre-recorded, narrated presentation available at this site.

Once the transition is completed in February, you also will be able to schedule a One-on-One Advice Session with a TIAA-CREF FINRA-licensed* financial consultant to obtain personalized retirement plan advice on all of your consolidated funds.

To schedule your session:

Call: 800-732-8353

Monday – Friday, 8 am – 8 pm

If you have any questions about the updates or wish to discuss your account:

Call the Retirement Plan Call Center at: 800-682-9139

Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. or Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

* FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry. FINRA is not part of the government. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.


The security of your retirement plan information is extremely important to us. One method of accessing your retirement account is through, using Secure Single Sign-On (SSO). It is not only secure but the preferred method of granting access to a range of institutional resources including applications. Within Human Resources, another example of the Secure Single Sign-On process involves access to UPMC Health Plan’s secure site that enables users to view a variety of insurance-related information, including incurred claims and flexible spending account activity.

SSO permits CSSD to centrally enforce password restrictions and complexity across the entire IT environment. SSO also is a common approach for higher education institutions and corporations.

As part of the sole recordkeeping project, CSSD has been working with TIAA-CREF for several months to ensure that access to this service is highly secure. The software used to deliver SSO is the world’s most widely deployed standardized, federated identity solution.

It allows the University to protect online web resources like TIAA-CREF without sending a faculty or staff member’s password across the network.

With this software in place, authentication to is used to securely provide access to the TIAA-CREF system.

As end users, we have a responsibility to manage our usernames and passwords. CSSD strives to raise the security awareness on campus with a focus on username and password management. More information about passwords and password management is available at this site:

Common sense is the best approach and it starts with making sure we never share our username and password with anyone. Both should be immediately changed if they are compromised.  Keeping up with passwords can be challenging. There is a free application called KeePass Password Vault that is available at this site:

This software allows the management of passwords and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. A mobile version also is available.

TIAA-CREF also provides important information under their Security Center. In particular, you may want to refer to an article named “Protecting Your Personal Information.”

It can be found at the following site:

Confirm beneficiary designations are correct

One of the most important aspects of your retirement program that often is overlooked involves keeping your beneficiary information up to date. There are many reasons to review your beneficiaries, including marriage, divorce, birth of a child, address change to name a few.

The table below tells you what action you need to take, if any, depending on your investment provider(s). You may or may not need to update your beneficiaries, but you should always review them to ensure they are current and accurate.


Important Vendor Contact Information

Benefits Department

Office hours: 8 am-5 pm EST, 320 Craig Hall

412-624-8160 (Main Line) • 412-624-3485 (Fax)

Please visit our web site,, for FAQs, downloadable forms and other benefits information.


UPMC Health Plan

1-888-499-6885  •


United Concordia  1-877-215-3616  •


Davis Vision  1-800-999-5431  •


TIAA-CREF  1-800-682-9139  •

Flexible Spending Accounts

UPMC   1-888-499-6885  •


1-866-647-3432  •


412-624-8070  •

Faculty Records