A Message from G. Leonard Teitelbaum, Chair of the Reform Pension Board
Becoming the Chair of the Reform Pension Board on January 1 made this New Year especially meaningful for me, and I am both humbled and excited to serve the RPB in this role.
I want to thank my predecessor Daryl Messinger, who is now Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism. I also want to acknowledge the dedication and many contributions of the following board members, whose terms on the board ended this past year: past Chairs, Ron Cohen and John Stern; Rabbi Richard Block; Rabbi Lisa Greene; Gus Kuhn III; Norman Leopold; Rabbi Martin Weiner, as well as Sharon Morton of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators (as of April 2016). Our talented leadership team, Michael Kimmel, Executive Director, and Alyce Gunn, Chief Financial Officer, succeeded our previous top two executives, who served the RPB for more than two decades. Michael and Alyce have been in their positions for thirteen and six months respectively, and I will do my best to continue to make their transition as seamless as possible.
As we begin 2016, the overarching theme of our work as administrators and board members is: Constituent Centric. This mindset will inform all our efforts to meet the needs of the various groups we serve—participants, congregations and Reform Movement institutions. Our goal is to service each with a dedication that we can be proud of.
This month, our Investment Committee began a periodic review of Summit Strategies Group, the RPB’s outside investment consultant. The review is one of our ongoing plan administration responsibilities and will help ensure we are aligned with our strategic, long-term investment philosophy, yet responsive to current market conditions.
Also in January, we launched a project to modernize our technology and streamline our operations over the next six to eighteen months. This undertaking will help us deliver a higher level of service quality that will make it easier for you to initiate account changes, improve the RPB’s responsiveness to your requests and give you more ways to communicate with us.
I believe Shema, the imperative to hear as well as to listen, is essential to understanding your diverse retirement planning needs. The board and I have already heard some of your suggestions and concerns, including your desire for more investment choice and greater flexibility in changing allocations. We will be addressing these and other issues at both the committee and the board level, and I hope to get this underway as soon as possible.
Another initiative for this year is to ensure that we are providing you with the right educational tools and resources to help you make informed retirement planning decisions at each stage of your life. We will also continue to update you on the markets through our quarterly commentaries and periodic emails and encourage you to share your feedback with us.
On a professional note, I spent more than forty years on Wall Street managing financial assets at two major banks and in corporate finance with a major brokerage firm. Personally, I was raised in a household where my grandfather received his S’micha in Vilnius, Lithuania and taught me how invaluable Rabbis, administrators and educators are to the success and longevity of Reform Judaism. Because of the work you have done and are doing, I am hopeful that my grandchildren will have a place to go, should they choose, where the principles and tenants of a relevant Judaism exists. For that I thank you and pledge to you I will do the best I can to make sure that our mission of helping to provide you with a financially secure retirement is met.
Chair, Reform Pension Board