A message from Gail H. Stone, Executive Director
APERS has achieved several important milestones in recent months that I’d like to share with you. First, the investment portfolio finished the fiscal year with a 12.20% return and record high assets of $8.1 billion! After two years of rather so-so returns, this strong finish helps our bottom line significantly. No surprise, our domestic and international stock portfolios led the charge to the finish line. With the U.S. presidential election behind us and international markets shaking off fears of the British exit from the European Union, stocks were primed for a particularly strong performance.
The second and perhaps more important milestone has been the cutover to the new APERS pension administration system, COMPASS (COMplete Pension Administration System Solution). COMPASS has an Employer Self Service module that now permits electronic reporting and remitting capabilities, allowing member employers to safely and securely transmit employee wage and service credit as well as make required contributions more quickly with less expense. Within ninety days of “go-live” virtually all 700 of our member employers were registered and reporting information via COMPASS. Thank you employers!
COMPASS also has a Member Self Service (MSS) portal where members can enroll and communicate with APERS electronically. Once registered, members can look at their personal history, purchase military or other service, file retirement applications and so on. APERS will undertake a focused rollout of MSS later this year.
The development and timely delivery of COMPASS took over three years and would not have been possible without the incredible persistence and dedication of the APERS development team. I would particularly like to thank Allison Woods, Director of Benefits, Phillip Norton, Director of IT, Jennifer Taylor, Manager of Benefit Services, Shelly George, Supervisor of Employer Reporting, and Jason Willett, Chief Fiscal Officer. Without them, we could not have accomplished this enormous effort.
Even with so much going on, there was also a regular legislative session the occurred earlier in the year.
Effective January 1, 2018, Act 552 again permits those who participate in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) to return to public service once they have fulfilled the separation from service requirements (six months for regular employees, one year for elected officials).
Also, Act 502 shortens the application period for DROP from two months to just one month prior to the effective date.
Finally, we at APERS would like to thank the members of the Joint Retirement Committee for their support throughout the session. Their hard work and commitment is truly appreciated!