2003 For the 20th consecutive year, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded PSERS Comprehensive Annual Financial Report the prestigious Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
PSERS implemented the 2nd phase of Act 2002-38 COLA for those who retired on or after July 2, 1990, but before July 2, 2002. The COLA did not include those whose retirement benefits include Membership Class T-D Service.
New Retiree Informational Meetings began during the summer. These hour-long meetings provided an overview of significant PSERS issues of special interest to retirees.
Executive Director, Dale Everhart, retired in June, and Mr. Jeffrey B. Clay acted as interim Executive Director. The PSERS Board of Trustees announced Mr. Clay as the new Executive Director at its October 31, 2003, board meeting.
On December 2, 2003, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard the PSERS and the PA School Boards Association case to purchase non-qualifying part-time service.
On December 31, 2003, the window created by Act 2001-9 closed. This law expanded the timeframe to elect Multiple Service membership from 30 days of employment to 365 days of employment. It also allowed employees who did not elect within their 30 day timeframe to elect Multiple Service membership by December 31, 2003.
PSERS web applications saw a significant increase in web use. Over 40,000 visited our applications on the Inter@ct website with sessions averaging just over 10 minutes in length. We also saw an increase in the use of email from both members and employers with over 14,000 messages received and 400,000 visitor sessions to the general PSERS website.
2004 In July, PSERS implemented Phase 1 of its New Pension Administration System (NPAS) that uses personal computer (PC) technology, rather than the current mainframe computer technology. PSERS provided staff, employers, and their vendors training on this new system. The new system provides for more timely and accurate information. The reporting requirements changed from a quarterly reporting system via various forms of media to a monthly reporting system using the web.
The Employer Reference Manual was completely revised and divided into two major sections to accommodate the changes in the method of reporting and to separate the employer reporting information from the member benefit information.
2005 After successful implementation of the first release on time and under budget, NPAS continued throughout the year with the design, development, and testing of subsequent phases. The System continued its multi-year project to implement an independent accounting book of record for the System's investment transactions and holdings. PSERS entered into an Employer/Union Direct Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in order to provide prescription drug benefits to Medicare-eligible HOP participants.
2006 PSERS successfully implemented the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program; it was the largest such program in the country. In January, the benefit payment processing functions of NPAS were implemented followed by the POS function in April. Efforts continued to develop and test the remaining core benefit processing functions. The agency underwent a performance audit and fiduciary review of its investment program and operations by the Auditor General and Independent Fiduciary Services, Inc. Market value of the fund exceeded $60 billion.
2007 PSERS assets increased to a record high of $67.5 billion. The investment performance for the calendar year-end placed PSERS in the top 1 percent of the public pension plan database compiled by Wilshire Associates. The System also established policies and procedures for the review and verification of all payments made to PSERS. Preparation was made for the final implementation of NPAS.
2008 Implementation of the final phase of NPAS was initiated in March 2008. This final phase incorporated all processes of the system ranging from retirements to death benefits and refunds. While PSERS diversified investment portfolio helped it to weather the global economic turmoil better than many of its peer organizations, to date the system has still temporarily incurred a reduction in the overall value of the fund.
2009 The “Great Recession” occurred and impacted investment markets worldwide. As a result, PSERS’ assets decreased from $62.7 to $43.2 billion during one of the most challenging fiscal years in the history of the pension fund. The historic worldwide economic decline was rivaled only by the Great Depression of the 1930s. PSERS maintained its position among the top 25 largest pension systems (public and corporate) in the nation. The PSERS’ logo was officially trademarked.