Pension Plans:

Status of Labor's Economically Targeted Investments Clearinghouse

HEHS-98-99R: Published: Feb 27, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1998.

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Jane L. Ross
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Labor's contract to establish and operate an economically targeted investments (ETI) clearinghouse, focusing on: (1) whether the applicable federal statutes and regulations were fully adhered to in selecting the ETI clearinghouse contractor; (2) how much was budgeted for and paid to the contractor; (3) what labor staff resources were involved in setting up and operating the ETI clearinghouse; (4) work that the contractor performed; and (5) the current status of the ETI clearinghouse.

GAO noted that: (1) Labor complied with the applicable federal procurement law and regulation in awarding the ETI clearinghouse contract to Hamilton Securities; (2) the entire contractor selection process was competitive among three vendors; (3) Labor held negotiations with each vendor; (4) of the $1,520,411 base period contract awarded in September 1994 for the 2-year period, Labor's share of the approved contract expenses was to be 55 percent, and the contractor's share was the remaining 45 percent; (5) for the 2-year base period, Labor approved payments of $774,723 of the $780,000 initially budgeted to reimburse Hamilton Securities for approved contract expenses; (6) Labor estimates that about 16 individuals from seven departmental offices spent nearly 630 hours from January 1993 through December 1997 on the ETI clearinghouse project; (7) Labor personnel activities included ETI clearinghouse contract procurement, development, analysis, policy research, and monitoring; (8) Hamilton Securities successfully completed each of the eight required contract tasks by the end of the contract base period; (9) among other things, the contractor developed an ETI database and created a clearinghouse web site for use by members of the pension community; (10) in August 1996, Labor decided not to exercise the option year permitted by the September 1994 contract because the contract requirements had been met by the end of the 2-year base period; (11) after the base period contract ended in September 1996, Hamilton Securities continued to operate the ETI clearinghouse but without any further Labor financial support; (12) in December 1997, the firm decided to cease clearinghouse operations; and (13) Labor cited operational difficulties and long-term revenue concerns as the reasons for Hamilton Securities' decision to discontinue these operations.

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