Leading the way

May 15, 2012

Teachers' earned top ranks in both investment and service categories of international benchmark studies.

Competition really heats up this time of year. Baseball season is well underway and in a few months the 2012 Summer Olympics will kick-off in London.

At Teachers', we thrive on the challenge of trying to be the best.

"Teachers' has demonstrated industry leadership on both the investment side and on the member service side," says Tom Scheibelhut, Managing Partner for CEM Benchmarking Inc., an independent authority on pension fund benchmarking.

We ranked first among our North American peers in two investment categories. The plan's 10-year total returns are the highest among global peer funds studied by CEM. And we were also number one in value added for the period.

In addition, we topped the list for exceptional pension service – the second time we've placed first in our group

Remaining the best

There's nothing like healthy competition to keep you motivated. Once you're at the top, staying there can sometimes be more challenging than getting there.

"Teachers' has led the way in terms of thinking about assets and liabilities and because of that, they are way ahead of a lot of pension funds around the world," adds Tom.

When it comes to service, we try to improve every year and track member satisfaction through regular surveys conducted by a third party. This feedback forms our Quality Service Index (QSI), which measured 9 out of 10 in 2011. In fact, more than half of members gave us a perfect score of 10 out of 10.

We have maintained high QSI scores for several years, even though plan complexity from new regulations and compliance – and hence our workload – has increased. Ten years ago, there were 237,000 plan members; today there are 300,000. We completed 395,000 client interactions in 2011, a 4% increase over the prior year.

Balancing service and cost

We believe our members deserve timely, reliable service and pension information that is relevant to them at different stages of their careers. Providing accurate and timely service in a complex pension plan is an accomplishment in itself, but we also continue to focus on offering exceptional service at a reasonable cost.

"We must balance service with costs, membership growth with web and system optimizations, and strategy with regulation," says Rosemarie McClean, Senior Vice-President, Member Services.

"The CEM results help us validate the direction we are taking and identify areas where we can improve.