Our value as a pension administration software provider can be seen in the long-term relationships we maintain with the retirement systems that have implemented our solutions. Here are some thoughts they've shared:
It is my pleasure to recommend Levi Ray & Shoup, Inc. (LRS) - PensionGold Retirement Solutions. During the past fourteen years, LRS has provided the Adams County Retirement Plan with a powerful software solution for providing comprehensive data maintenance, accurate benefit calculations and quality workflow.
The Adams County Retirement Plan staff works closely with the PensionGold team to assure accurate data output to participants while receiving quality service and on-time delivery of special project development updates and product enhancement builds. The PensionGold support staff provides prompt, continuous and effective assistance for the smallest of issues and those unexpected events.
Adams County is currently working on a project of great magnitude and as the project unfolds the PensionGold team demonstrates their attention to detail and commitment to excellence.
LRS continually works to provide product solutions to the ever-changing retirement environment and is dedicated to staying one step ahead of their competitors to assure the superiority of the PensionGold product as a retirement administration solution.
—Pamela R. Mathisen, CEBS, Executive Director
Alameda County Employees' Retirement Association (ACERA) implemented PensionGold in 2001, which allowed the streamlining of many processes that were previously performed manually. PensionGold has helped us improve our efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Since implementation, ACERA has worked with LRS on further projects to enhance our member statements and most recently develop a web-member service portal (WMS). This WMS portal is an exciting addition to our member service resources. The members can now obtain current information on their accounts and obtain future benefit estimates at any time of the day at a secure site.
ACERA appreciates the ongoing business relationship with LRS' support team. Their knowledge and experience working with other pension plans enable them to resolve issues quickly and provide ideas and examples for change.
Since PensionGold implementation, we provide better customer service and are timelier in our service.
—Kathy Foster, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, ACERA
The City of Miami Fire Fighters' and Police Officers' Retirement Trust (FIPO) has had a relationship with Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc. (LRS) dating as far back as 1996, when the Trust first started looking into software that would facilitate the running of the human resources or benefits side of our operations. The actual product was purchased and implemented in the year 2000, Pension Gold Version 2. In 2009 the LRS Team presented us with their new web-based product (Version 3). We went ahead and started the process of Board approval and budgeting and executed the contract for the new product and its implementation in late 2009.
The FIPO Trust has a total of 2,221 retired members and 1,269 active members. Our staff consists of one Benefit Clerk (two Benefit Clerks prior to the implementation of Version 2), two Accountants, one Assistant Administrator and one Administrator. I will say that, as with all conversion endeavors, we were weary of the process. I am happy to report that LRS, just like with the first implementation, once again delivered.
The Team that we were assigned came in and from the start we could see that they had prepared themselves with full knowledge of the version we were using and a mapping of how the conversion will be tackled. All customizations for our special needs were addressed along with recommendations on how to better address some of these special needs. A time line was established and adhered to even after having to accommodate benefit changes brought on by a new Labor Agreement that was imposed in the middle of the project.
As far as budget, we were able to stay within the projected cost, except for having to address the benefit changes of the imposed Labor Agreement which required base changes that were additional to the original quoted cost.
We went live with the web version in May, 2011, and have long since been moved to Support which I will report could not be more efficient and expedient. Every issue that is reported is immediately addressed and resolved to our satisfaction.
Through our long relationship with LRS, we have always had the sense that they are constantly looking into ways and the technology to provide us, their clients, with the latest and most innovative ways to help us deal with the needs and demands of our complex industry.
It gives me great pleasure to be involved with a Company which can provide us with the level of all around satisfaction that allows me to write this style of correspondence.
—Dania L. Orta, Administrator
Using the LRS team to implement PensionGold for line of business functionality, imaging, human work flow and a web portal solution has been a tremendous benefit for the ERFC staff and membership!
PensionGold allowed us to:
Extensively reduce risks stemming from antiquated, disparate systems, databases and paper documents.
Achieve cost savings by using PensionGold to process our monthly pension payroll – a function previously outsourced that is now managed internally by ERFC staff.
Realize staff efficiencies in serving our growing active and retiree membership.
Empower our members with ERFCDirect, a web based tool that provides members and retirees 24/7 self-service capabilities including direct access to their data, forms, and a benefit calculator.
Working together, our dedicated staff, a third party oversight firm and the PensionGold team completed a successful project within budget. The PensionGold implementation team was well-versed in all phases of the project – from imaging system installation to data conversion through the membership and payroll phases with culmination in the launch of ERFCDirect.
Since going live with the PensionGold solution, ERFC has continued to receive great assistance from PensionGold staff and the committed support team.
Selecting PensionGold was a great decision for ERFC!
—Jeanne M. Carr, CFA, Executive Director/CIO, Retired
Choosing PensionGold as the software for the Houston Firefighters' Relief & Retirement Fund was one of the best decisions this organization has done. Comparing our legacy system with PensionGold is like comparing day and night.
Prior to using PensionGold we had to process all our payments in our old system and then manually input all the payments in our custodian bank's system. We were essentially doing double work each month. PensionGold allows us to send all payments to our bank via a monthly payroll file. This reduces the amount of human errors that would occur prior to PensionGold. Not only has the product proven to streamline our processes within our department, but the support staff is one of the best that I have worked with. They are quick at answering any questions and are extremely helpful in resolving any problems reported.
Having a good working relationship with all the team members at LRS allows us to continue our commitment to service our members and survivors of the Houston Firefighters' Relief & Retirement Fund.
—Dalia "Dolly" De La Cruz, CEBS, Benefits Administration Manager
The implementation of PensionGold at the Mendocino County Employees' Retirement Association (MCERA) has been smoother than I expected when I took over at MCERA one year prior to go-live. My predecessors, MCERA staff, our project manager and LRS staff worked through various issues in development throughout the project. PensionGold project staff worked diligently to meet our expectations and deliver the project on time and on budget, with very few change orders. The development and implementation of a new system is always difficult, but LRS made the effort much less painful than we expected.
PensionGold is critical to the administration of MCERA and we appreciate how the software has brought us into the modern era in many different ways and that it helps us to improve the service we provide to our members.
—James R. Wilbanks, Ph.D., Retirement Administrator
MPERS was created in 1955 and for over 30 years administered the benefits our members enjoy with little oversight and very limited resources. In 1988, what I call the MPERS evolution began. That was the year we had our first dedicated staff person employed to oversee the operation of the plan. Since that time, and particularly in the last decade, we have evolved into a sophisticated pension plan that our members and stakeholders can appreciate and respect.
One of the greatest advancements for MPERS during that period was the acquisition of PensionGold. With PensionGold came material advancements in terms of our record keeping, plan administration, and member communication. Our small plan boasts many of the same modern day technologies utilized by much bigger systems. Without PensionGold that would not be the case.
As you know, our staff does not include dedicated IT professionals Admittedly, that has been and to some extent continues to be a personal struggle for me. That is, I would prefer to have my own dedicated staff for that function. Unfortunately, that is not always practical for a small operation like ours. Fortunately, the relationship we have developed over the years with PensionGold has served to fill that void for MPERS. That sort of relationship between organizations is unusual in my experience. Kudos to you and your team for helping us realize the partnership we enjoy today.
—Scott Simon, Executive Director
I just wanted to send along a thank-you to your staff for all of the outstanding work that was done on the imaging system upgrade over the past several months. The deployment went very well and your Infrastructure & Technical Services (ITS) team did an excellent job with training, cutover, and support. I commend them for that, as well as the other players behind the scenes. It's not often in my business that something goes this smoothly, and the projects that LRS delivers to us always seem to.
—Frank Clough, Director of Information Technology
The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System ("OPPRS") has been utilizing PensionGold Version 3 ("PensionGold") software since 2009. Before making the transition to PensionGold, the OPPRS relied on an antiquated mainframe system with multiple programs to perform the integral processes necessary to administer member retirement accounts and benefits. Most of these processes were performed manually, often in separate applications, which proved to be inefficient and cumbersome. Converting to PensionGold has greatly improved core operating efficiencies for the OPPRS since most administrative processes can now be easily generated in one system very quickly.
Today, the OPPRS uses PensionGold Version 3 in conjunction with PensionGold EmployerDirect, PensionGold MemberDirect, and the Ad Hoc Reporting service. These products have allowed us to sync previously separated processes into one user-friendly environment, and expand the services and information available to our membership. These products are maintained by a dedicated support staff that is seemingly always available.
The OPPRS has always taken pride in the high level of customer service it provides, but the utilization of PensionGold products has given us the ability to raise that bar to an unprecedented level.
—Sean Ruark, Pension Administration Officer
In 2004, the San Bernardino County Employees' Retirement Association (SBCERA) went live with the client/server version (Version 2) of PensionGold software from LRS. In 2011, we began an upgrade from Version 2 to PensionGold Version 3. In addition to upgrading to Version 3, we integrated a document management solution (PageCenterX), and built a print management solution via VSPX. Our PensionGold Version 3 upgrade included a member portal and employer portal. Additionally, the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) went into effect January 1, 2013, creating two tiers of membership at SBCERA and resulting in significant project scope changes. Despite this, the technology upgrade was completed on schedule. We completed the upgrade in March 2014.
During our time with PensionGold, LRS' services, innovation and work have been efficient and dependable. We consider the overall relationship and cooperation with LRS as very positive, and are satisfied with the quality of services rendered. SBCERA recommends LRS' PensionGold and appreciates our continued business relationship with the company.
—Joseph Michael, Chief Information Officer
—Colin Bishop, Chief of Member Services
SBCERS has used PensionGold® Version 2, a client/server version of the software, since 1999. We are very happy with the quality of the overall system and its ability to address the complexities of the various retirement plans under the 1937 Act (applicable to certain California counties).
In late 2012 SBCERS implemented changes associated with the recent California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 signed by Governor Brown. These changes were implemented as a series of six change orders, each with its own thrust (new plan setup, retirement estimates, benefit setups, etc.) The implementation was orderly, well-thought out and consistent. We were particularly happy with the weekly progress updates conducted by the dedicated LRS®Retirement Solutions team.
We also use LRS Retirement Solutions personnel to continually upgrade our server software, backup solutions and disruptive event procedures. They were extremely instrumental in helping us virtualize all of our servers, which went seamlessly. This upgrade enabled us to also move to VMware's Site Recovery Manager, greatly enhancing our recovery ability in the event of disruption. In the case of a complete disaster we also utilize PensionGold's "PG Secure" service for peace of mind. All of these are thoroughly tested regularly.
The Product Support staff are very responsive and knowledgeable, verifying why something isn't working quickly and then working with us on solutions; whether it is staff training that is needed, a re-adjustment of procedures, or fixing any glitches in the software.
In 2016 SBCERS made the decision to move ahead with the implementation of the most recent version of PensionGold. The project will include PensionGold's extensions for MemberDirect and EDMDirect to interface with LRS' PageCenterX®electronic document management solution.
—Brian M. Richard, Assistant CEO
The Sonoma County Employees' Retirement Association (SCERA) has been very pleased with the implementation, flexibility and function of LRS' PensionGold software. The prior Administrator, Gary Bei, and staff have reported a uniformly positive experience, which is ongoing. SCERA and PensionGold project staff worked as a team throughout implementation and kept the project on track to meet expectations and stay within budgeted amounts. The project transformed SCERA systems from outdated and fragmented processes to an integrated system platform that serves SCERA well and will continue to do so for many years.
Staff efficiency and member support have been greatly improved with the implementation of the core system, imaging and web member services applications. In addition, the Integrated Pension System allowed SCERA to expeditiously implement the most complex legislative change in decades (the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013), which was approved in September 2012 and was effective January 1, 2013. This time critical and complex task was made possible with the new system platform.
We view LRS as a key partner in the administration of the retirement system and in enhancing the overall level of customer service to SCERA members.
—Julie Wyne, Retirement Administrator
To understand how PensionGold pension administration software can be the solution for your retirement system's needs, contact us for a demonstration.