1975 Act 96, a new Retirement Code, was enacted with a profound effect on the System:
- PSERB became an "independent administrative Board."
- Board membership increased.
- The System’s authority to invest in common stock was liberalized.
- The lump-sum withdrawal of accumulated deductions at retirement was permitted.
- Part-time employees were made eligible for PSERS membership.
- Withdrawal (early) retirement eligibility was lowered from 25 to 10 years.
- Eligibility for full death benefit was reduced from 25 to 10 years.
- Eligibility for disability was lowered from 10 years to 5 years.
1976 PSERS moved into City Towers, combining an operation that was scattered in three different locations in Harrisburg.
1977 Assistant Executive Director M. Andrew Sheffler succeeded Mr. Cashman as Executive Director.
1979 The System’s first "outside" audit occurred.
1980 The Board joined George Washington University in financing an office building/retail right in the District of Columbia. A security system was installed at the headquarters building.
1982 The Fund could invest up to 50 percent of its total assets at book value in common stock. Various investment advisors were hired, the Board as nonvoting members, bringing membership to 15. The number of days an annuitant could return to work without loss of annuity was changed from 60 to 75 days.
The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act had significant impact on the taxation of benefits and also required changes to automated systems.
The first of several retirement "windows" was enacted.
1983 The member contribution rate was raised from 5.25 percent of payroll to 6.25 percent for new members. Member contributions were "picked up" by the employer for federal tax purposes. The System received its first annual prestigious Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The Board adopted sex-neutral actuarial tables as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court Ruling "Norris v. State of Arizona." Disaster recovery planning began.
1984 James A. Perry became the sixth Executive Director of PSERS. The System began to buy microcomputers for the staff. The Fund was enabled to invest in limited partnerships and separate accounts as well as venture capital. Act 95 provided for a one-year window for members 53 years old or older with 30 years of credited service to retire with no penalty. It also provided a cost-of-living increase for all annuitants.
1985 A mission statement and strategic plan were adopted by the Board. Electronic transfer of benefits to financial institutions began. The Commonwealth made its final payment on a $90 million debt owed PSERS for the Commonwealth portion of the contribution for fiscal years ended June 30, 1970, 1971, 1972, and 1973. (No interest was paid.) Retiring or refunding members were given the option to withdraw their contribution and interest in up to four installments. Legislation enabled the Board to deduct for child and spousal support.
1985 After many years of steady increases, the System’s unfunded accrued liability was decreased.
1986 The Board adopted a resolution on divestment of assets in companies doing business in South Africa. Mandatory retirement counseling was enacted. The conversion of all retirement records to microfiche was begun, and the correspondence unit was established to answer mail and telephone calls more efficiently. The employer contribution was reduced for the first time in 23 years. An automated general ledger system was installed to provide PSERS with more timely financial information and to reduce the level of manual account postings required. Retirement windows were enacted to allow for early retirement without penalties.
1986 A provision in the U.S. Tax Reform Act eliminating the "three-year rule" for taxation of retirement benefits had a negative impact on the System’s members and automated processes.
1987 The System moved into a new headquarters building at 5 North Fifth Street, Harrisburg.