Wisconsin Retirement System Funds Show Strong Gains in 2013

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) announced earlier this week that the two funds it manages for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) posted strong gains in 2013, allowing for the first pay increase in five years for annuitants.

The Core Fund ended the year with a 13.5 percent gain and the riskier Variable Fund posted a 29 percent gain. These gains surpassed benchmarks set by SWIB.

Morningstar recently recognized WRS as the strongest state pension in country, and the Pew Center on the States found WRS to be fully-funded and called it a “solid performer.”

Three state departments released a report in 2012 recommending no changes to WRS. The legislature requested the study as part of the 2011-13 state budget. In particular, the study was to examine the possibility of allowing WRS participants to choose a defined contribution plan or opt out of WRS altogether.

PROFS is currently monitoring two bills affecting WRS:

  • Assembly Bill 470 would increase the minimum retirement age by two years. If passed, it would apply to workers 40 and younger.
  • Assembly Bill 471 would calculate benefits based on the five highest earnings periods, a change from the current three year formula.

 Both bills are in committee awaiting a public hearing.