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5/23/2018

​Get to know your CSS Pension Plan Consultants


If you’ve ever contacted the CSS Pension Plan, you’ve likely already spoken to one of our Pension Plan Consultants (PPCs) who are often your first point of contact. Whether you’re wondering if you’ve saved enough for retirement, need clarification about the retirement income options available for your funds in the Plan, or need guidance to determine how your funds should be invested leading up to retirement or in retirement, our PPCs are here to help answer any questions you have.

But that’s not all – they can also prepare a customized retirement plan for you that includes all your sources of retirement income in addition to your funds in the Plan, such as RRSPs, TFSAs, CPP and OAS, along with your spouse’s sources of retirement income. The PPCs do not receive commissions, so you can be confident they are helping you make decisions that are truly in your best interest.

We encourage you to contact the Plan’s office to speak to a PPC or arrange a time to meet in person if there is anything you need assistance with regarding your CSS Pension. If there is one thing our PPCs all have in common, it’s that they genuinely enjoy helping members. Read on and get to know the PPCs who are here to help you!


​Fiona May, CFP

Fiona May is one of the longest-serving staff members at the CSS Pension Plan, so it’s no surprise she knows the front-line operations backwards and forwards.

Fiona started her career with the Plan 25 years ago as an Office Administrator and became the Plan’s first PPC in 2014. Throughout the years, she has attained a solid understanding of the various facets of the Plan, making her an excellent resource for members to talk to and learn more about how their pension works.

“The part I enjoy most about my job is talking to members,” Fiona says.

After the Plan started offering Variable Benefit (VB) payments in 2006, and in turn, initiating more member contact, Fiona earned her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. She also holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, which has been a great complement to her financial knowledge and skills.

“Prior to finishing my degree, I realized I didn’t want to be in the classroom,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in helping people, and education can always be beneficial even if it’s not used in the traditional setting. Now that I am in the PPC role, I feel my career has come full circle.”

She says her background in education has been especially useful for providing information to members in a way that is understandable – whether over the phone or when delivering presentations as part of the Plan’s Retirement Income Options (RIO) workshop program; pension information can often be complex due to the highly-regulated nature of the industry and numerous options available for different life scenarios.

Despite the fact the PPCs must work within the boundaries of pension legislation, Fiona says that her job is always interesting.

“Talking to members, you realize everyone’s situation is different and unique. You have to work within legislation, but you want to try and help members get what they want out of their retirement as much as possible,” she said.

When she is not busy helping members, Fiona can be found at crossfit classes, reading, scrapbooking, cross-stitching, travelling or spending time with her granddaughter.


​Rhonda Rodh, CFP

Rhonda Rodh, originally from Hague, SK, has been an employee of the CSS Pension Plan since 2001. Prior to becoming a PPC in 2015, she was the Plan’s Repayments Administrator and oversaw the fund transfers and withdrawals for the Plan.

“What initially drew me to the PPC position was the members and being able to help the members achieve their retirement goals,” Rhonda said.

Whether she is answering member inquiries or discussing the options members have with respect to their funds in the Plan, both during their working years and in retirement, Rhonda says the PPC opportunity has been exciting and challenging.

“I absolutely love it. I love working with the members and going on the road and meeting the members in person during our Retirement Income Options (RIO) workshops,” she says. “There are so many different situations, so every day is unique and interesting.”

Rhonda understands it can be overwhelming to make decisions about retirement, so she is aptly excited about the Plan’s new proactive approach toward contacting members who are nearing retirement to help them realize they are not alone when it comes to making decisions.

“The members really appreciate it, because it can be very intimidating to make such a big decision,” says Rhonda.

In addition to taking finance, accounting and pension-related courses over the progression of her career, Rhonda also earned her CFP designation in 2007, studying evenings and weekends while continuing to work full time to further fine-tune her expertise and the service she provides to members.

In her spare time, Rhonda is an avid reader and frequent visitor to the Saskatoon Public Library. She also enjoys spending time with family and travelling.


​Coleen Berge, CFP

Coleen Berge joined the CSS Pension Plan team in 2016, armed with extensive experience in the financial services industry and credit union system.

Originally from Rose Valley, SK, Coleen grew up on a farm with her parents and five sisters. After graduating from high school, she moved to Saskatoon and began her career at Toronto Dominion (TD) Bank.

Coleen says education has always been an important hallmark for her. While she worked throughout numerous TD branches in the city, she continued her education by taking classes through the University of Saskatchewan’s Business Administration program.

In 1997, she began working at the Saskatoon Credit Union (now Affinity Credit Union) and continued her educational pursuits by earning her CFP designation in 2003. Coleen says one of the main reasons she decided to switch to the credit union system was so she could continue her studies, and the credit union system offered the financial means to help her do that.

With her well-rounded experience and education, Coleen is a knowledgeable touchpoint for members in her role as a PPC.

“For me, being a PPC is really an ideal position,” she says. “I want to focus on helping people, and using my education and background to help members make informed decisions about their retirement within a commission-free setting.”

Coleen says she loves sharing her knowledge of pensions with people and providing in-person education through the Plan’s RIO workshop program and member consultations. With the RIO workshop program growing in popularity, the Plan is offering more workshops each year in more locations.

“I’m excited about the increased number of workshops and that we no longer charge members to attend,” she said. “We are much more proactive about reaching out to members, and that approach has been met favourably by members who appreciate the professional guidance.”

In her spare time, Coleen is an enthusiastic gardener and landscaper, reader and traveller. She has travelled around the world, including Norway (one of her favourite places she’s visited and also the homeland of her family), Greece, Italy, Spain, France and China.



Article from the spring 2018 issue of TimeWise