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Knowledge Center

2019 Annual Message from our Chair

As we enter a new decade, the improvements to your plan that were started just over four years ago continue! I want to thank those of you who responded to our most recent participant survey which affirmed that these enhancements are making a difference. Some of the key findings from the survey include:

  • 93% of all survey respondents reported they are satisfied or very satisfied with the plan.
  • 95% of retirees who responded to the survey are able to live the lifestyle that they expected.
  • RPB is getting better at keeping you informed about the plan's performance and holdings in the RPB funds.
  • Participants want a more modern system for managing their RPB account.

We appreciate your growing support and while it’s wonderful to see that overall satisfaction has improved, our work to stay on track with industry best practices is ongoing. As you'll read later, our conversion to a new recordkeeper in the spring is our next major initiative to continue to meet your needs.

Dayenu? Absolutely not!

Our Modernization Roadmap

The first phase of our modernization began with hiring a new management team—an Executive Director, a Chief Financial Officer, and an Executive Assistant/Office Manager—as well as adding two positions to the senior staff, a Director of Participant & Employer Services and a Director of Marketing & Communications.

During the next phase, we added a multitude of new plan features: index funds, daily account valuation, 403(b) loans, Roth 403(b) contributions, our precedent-setting Reform Jewish Values Fund (also available to congregations for their endowment fund investments), and online enrollment for new participants which vastly improved the account opening experience. Our educational webinars, enhanced communications, and the new RPB website were also a major undertaking and have been well received.

Behind the scenes, we've upgraded the systems the RPB and your employers use to manage your information and transactions. Our new investment consulting and auditing firms, NEPC and RSM, respectively, have already begun providing us with the broader services and deeper bench that we need to manage a complex retirement plan with over $1.4 billion in assets under management. We’ve also partnered with a leading cyber security firm, Halock Security Labs—a requirement of the new era in which we live.

Dayenu? Never!

2020: Phase 3 of RPB's Modernization

We’re in the third phase of changes to meet the ever-increasing needs of our participants. Up next, and what will be the most visible to participants, is the change of our recordkeeper from Alerus to Fidelity. This will make it easier for you to monitor and manage your retirement accounts, actively plan for your retirement, and get your particular investment questions answered. We expect to be up and running in the second quarter of 2020 and will provide you with extensive information to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Dayenu! No Way!

We are committed to helping you achieve a secure retirement and will continue to update the plan inside and out to achieve that goal.

RPB and Board Updates

I believe we have the strongest professional staff in the league. If I could be permitted to use a sports analogy, they are All Americas, each of them individually and collectively. It’s easy to be the Chair and help set direction when the team that Michael Kimmel has assembled can effectively and efficiently bring an idea to life. Your senior staff is familiar to you: Robert Perry, Director of Participant & Employer Services, who is an attorney with significant knowledge of finance; Stephanie Berger, a marketing professional of the first order with extensive knowledge of the investment business; Maria Rodriguez, who can keep a dozen balls in the air and never drop one; Alyce Gunn, your CFO who is truly a jewel in the crown. Her vast corporate experience in a broad spectrum of business activities should be listed as an asset on our balance sheet.

Finally, Michael Kimmel. His expertise for spotting talent and leading them is extraordinary, and his abilities are recognized beyond your RPB. Michael’s recent election as Vice Chair of the Church Benefits Association (CBA) is a testament to him as an individual and as a leader on the CBA board, and in the Reform Movement. In light of this, the RPB Board of Trustees recently named him Chief Executive Officer.

And let’s not forget the other staff pros that work diligently to keep your plan running: Vanessa Stevens, Controller, Lois Allwood, Accounting Assistant, Dan Rosenblum, Marketing & Communications Associate, Nicole Daniel, Participant Account Associate, and Chase Bouchie, Employer Account Associate. We’ve been able to accomplish much because what we lack in numbers compared with organizations that do the same work for other faiths, we have in talent.

In closing, I would like to say goodbye and welcome to those individuals who will be leaving and joining the RPB Board of Trustees. Rabbi Judith Schindler Wallach will be leaving the board to focus on her Israel advocacy efforts which are so time consuming and, to me, so overwhelming that only someone like Judith can do it. Rabbi Steven Mason will be taking over for Judith as one of the board’s CCAR representatives.

With deep reverence and respect, we also say shalom and todah rabah to Joseph Rackman. As our outside counsel for four decades, Joseph not only brought outstanding advice as one of the leading national experts on 403(b) plans but also a yiddishkeit to the board. Joseph will be long remembered in the most favorable light. Suzanne Smith, Esq., from the firm Nixon Peabody, has been retained as outside counsel and is already making a positive impact for your RPB.

We also thankfully welcome back Melissa (Missy) Johnson, Chief Planning and Strategy Officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, who is filling an open URJ-appointed seat on the board.

RPB has served the Reform Movement for 75 years. Dayenu? Ein Matzav!1

L’ Shalom,

G. Leonard Teitelbaum

Chair of the Board

  1. Dayenu means "it would have been enough" and Ein Matzav means "definitely not"
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