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March 4, 2005 – Prospective Providers

From: John Gordon, Chairman, and Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors (ICBV)

To: Perspective benefits providers

Date: March 4, 2005

Subject: Proposals

 

Please accept this document as our formal request to your firm to begin the preparation of a proposal for a retirement plan for blind operators in the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind (BEPB). I ask that any questions bidders have be committed to print and directed to me; in turn questions and answers will be distributed to all parties.

 

All participants that we provide retirement benefits to are not members per se. However, they are part of the BEPB and ICBV.

 

The BEPB is the state licensing agency responsible for training, transfers and promotions, day to day operations, and providing our self-employed blind men and women with support services to help them to be more self sufficient and successful. Our ICBV is not a membership organization however we are a 501 C 3 non for profit organization. Federal law mandates that the elected committee of blind vendors be chosen on an annual basis by our blind operators. This committee is charged with actively participating in program and policy matters with the state licensing agency staff.

 

Currently, we have 97 licensed blind managers who would qualify for retirement benefits. I have enclosed a list of blind operators along with their most current seniority level. We anticipate starting this retirement program with approximately $300,000 in seed money. After putting a formal retirement program in place we will, at a minimum, be able to invest approximately $60,000 from program funds annually towards this initiative. We also would encourage our operators to invest personal money in these investment accounts to further enhance their long and short range retirement goals. Further, we would like to promote these types of individual investments by setting time aside at our annual training conference for the provider to address both the group and individual operators on his or her investment choices.

 

The $300,000 mentioned earlier for startup and the additional $60,000 annually are monies that are classified as set-aside funds which mean they are monies collected by the BEPB each year and disbursed based on an annual vote of our blind operators. Please keep in mind that all of the funding that I have addressed to this point would be made available as lump sum payments and the only collection of monies that you would have responsibility in are those that our blind operators agree to individually in their personal accounts.

 

The Retirement Committee is also looking for any type of safe guards that could be set up to discourage individuals opting to liquidate their retirement program prematurely. We have blind operators with varying degrees of income. Some blind operators make as little as $14,000 and others makes as much as $120,000 annually. Our main objective is to protect those in the lower income area while still providing a fair level of benefits to people with higher earnings.

 

As a committee, we discussed that by adding the amount of seniority years in our program and dividing that into $300,000 we would come to a dollar amount which could be credited for each year of seniority. Then one could simply multiply this amount by the amount of seniority years to determine the annual dollar amount placed in each operator’s account.

 

We anticipate making a decision on a retirement plan by the end of May, 2005. I would appreciate your company submitting a proposal by the close of the business day on March 15, 2005.

 

Please make your proposal comprehensive, but I respectfully request that you utilize layman’s terms wherever possible. A glossary of terms would be most beneficial to those reviewing proposals. Please include in your proposal all costs, commissions, and other expenses that will be charged both up front and annually.

 

There will be an initial review of all proposals by the committee followed by scheduled oral presentations for each bidder.

 

We appreciate your interest and look forward to meeting in the near future. You can also respond via email at blindvendors@aol.com.