In early 2015, the Borough was faced with the replacement of their long-time pension consultant, who had been providing actuarial and administrative services for the Borough’s plans for approximately 20 years. Conrad Siegel was selected to take over after completion of the Act 44 request for proposal process.
Transition: Given the tight time frame, Conrad Siegel was able to complete the valuations on time.
“Initially, one of my biggest concerns,” according to Janice Lee, Finance Manager for the Borough, “was the transition process.” John D. Vargo, FSA, is the lead actuary for the engagement. “John was so helpful,” said Janice, “he created a detailed timeline of everything that needed to happen in 2015.” The Borough continued to refer to this time-line throughout the year, making adjustments where necessary. “As a result,” said Janice, “everything ran smoothly.”
While Janice is an experienced Finance Manager, the operation of the pension plans is not an area of her expertise. She needed a relationship that she could count on.
“John took the time to meet with me and my staff early on in the process to address our questions and explain how best to manage and operate the plans,” said Janice. “He always is available to answer our questions and his responses are very timely. What I like most,” said Janice, “is that I can count on John’s opinion. John is very patient with us sharing both the pros and cons of each situation so that we feel comfortable in making good, informed decisions.”
Communicating with Employees and Retirees
Within at least the last five years, according to Janice, there had been no direct communication with retirees. To assist the Borough, Conrad Siegel created a communication piece to share with retirees and employees to better help them understand the value of the benefits they were receiving or accruing. Recently the Borough was faced with an unexpected death of a long-time employee. Conrad Siegel worked with Janice every step of the way advising her on what needed to happen and when. In addition, two vested employees recently retired.
“This was a first for us,” said Janice, “John handled this very efficiently. When we asked for benefit calculations, we got a response practically the next day.”