Modest Pension Increases Projected for WRS Retirees

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) announced yesterday that preliminary returns for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) should result in modest increases for retirees.

The Core Fund, the state’s largest trust fund at $88.7 billion, slightly surpassed its benchmark with a one-year return of 5.7 percent. The five-year return is projected to be 9.3 percent. The riskier Variable Fund, with holdings of $7.3 billion, lagged just behind its benchmark with a one-year return of 7.3 percent.

Last year both funds posted strong gains, resulting in the first increase for annuitants in five years.

PROFS carefully monitors legislation relating to WRS and lobbies for the best possible pensions for faculty.

In 2011, the legislature requested a study to examine allowing WRS participants to choose a defined contribution plan or opt out of WRS altogether. PROFS hosted a campus forum featuring experts on WRS, including the former legal counsel to SWIB and the former secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds. The resulting 2012 legislative report recommended no changes to WRS.

The state’s retirement system is very highly regarded — Morningstar 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.”