RD857 - Virginia Retirement System – Popular and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2021

Executive Summary:

This year, the VRS team reached our ultimate goal of online retirement, allowing us to provide exceptional customer service by leveraging technology. We also launched other features in the myVRS member portal, including beneficiary and direct deposit management. Our journey to this achievement began over a decade ago with the Modernization project, through which we successfully created an integrated record-keeping and accounting system that provides a holistic view of each member as they move through their careers and into retirement. We are excited to provide members who are retiring with a convenient online experience, including just-in-time counseling tips at important decision points, as well as a host of online services in retirement.

We continued uninterrupted customer service during a full year of remote work. Many in-person training products were converted to a virtual format. Vigorous promotion of myVRS Financial Wellness resources encouraged new registrations and engagement with helpful money-management tools. Employer support continued through virtual site visits and employer roundtables. In the future, we’ll continue to offer our educational programs in various formats so attendees have maximum flexibility.

The Defined Contribution Plans (DCP) team, assisted by our partner MissionSquare Retirement, saw great success with splash screens that encourage increased plan contributions when participants log into their online accounts. We launched Certified Financial Planning, offering goal-specific financial plans to all VRS members and retirees, not just DCP participants, at a low cost or no cost. Along with enhanced service in myVRS, we added navigation advancements to our redesigned, mobile-friendly website for members and retirees. A refreshed newsroom tells our story more effectively. We sought to increase awareness of our long-term investment strategy by redesigning the online Quarterly Investments Report, with a column from Chief Investment Officer Ron Schmitz that adds context to the returns.

We’ve transformed communication, education and service with the release of online retirement and look forward to additional enhancements. In a time where in-person meetings are often not possible, VRS has used multiple channels to reach our audience and provide the attentive service for which we are known. We’re mindful of challenges in the virtual environment and continue to enhance online security. As we move forward, we will build on the current framework for service delivery while continuing our trend of providing high-quality, low-cost service in comparison to our peers.

I’d like to thank the Board of Trustees for their leadership and stewardship. Through their support, our team has been able to offer exceptional service to our members and beneficiaries. I’d also like to thank our VRS staff for their agility in a changing environment and their commitment to serving those who serve others. This report represents the culmination of those efforts for fiscal year 2021.

Patricia S. Bishop