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In a defined contribution plan, such as the Optional Retirement Plan for Higher Education (ORPHE), participants are responsible for their own investment decisions, based on individual risk tolerance, time horizon and objectives. To help meet these varying needs, VRS provides participants investment choices across a range of asset classes, risk levels and investment strategies so you can construct and/or invest in portfolios that address your individual needs.

If you elect the ORPHE plan, you have a choice of two providers: DCP (record kept by MissionSquare Retirement) and TIAA. Each provides record-keeping and administrative services, along with a range of diversified and distinct investment options to allow participants to create a portfolio with varied risk and return characteristics. VRS monitors the investment options and the services these companies provide to employers and participants and makes recommended changes to program services and investment options on a periodic basis.

Plan Structure and Investments

TIAA operates under a bundled plan structure. Bundled plans use one company for investment management, record-keeping, enrollment and marketing services. In addition to their company’s proprietary investment options, a bundled plan provider’s investment platform may include investment options from other fund companies. TIAA’s plan administration and record-keeping fees are embedded within most fund expense ratios. Review fund prospectuses or other disclosure documents for more information about investment management fees, short-term trading fees and/or the investment restrictions for the funds you are considering.

The DCP program operates under an unbundled plan structure. VRS contracts for investment services separately from the record-keeping, enrollment and marketing functions, which are managed by MissionSquare Retirement. Expense ratios with DCP include only investment-related fees. Administrative and record-keeping fees are charged separately.

Learn More About Investment Basics

The ORPHE Handbook provides an overview of investment basics, including risk factors, asset allocation and diversification and asset classes  .

To see the investment options available from each ORPHE provider and to review investment performance, view Provider Options.

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