Fish & Wildlife Service--Reimbursement for Individual Financial Planning for Retirement
B-301721: Jan 16, 2004
The Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has requested an advance decision under 31 U.S.C. 3529 on the propriety of using appropriated funds to reimburse employees for costs associated with individual financial planning for retirement as part of the agency's retirement education program. For the reasons set forth below, we have no objection to the Service's proposal to reimburse its employees for the costs of individual financial planning for retirement as part of its legitimate function of administering its personnel benefits system. Employee retirement education and retirement counseling are legitimate agency expenses. We note that the Service's proposed reimbursement program does not designate acceptable sources of financial planning, and we encourage the Service to develop internal controls to assess each employee request to ensure that the service for which reimbursement is sought meets the agency's definition of "advice and consultation services on investments, retirement issues and benefit programs from a financial planner."