MADISON — Fifty
of Wisconsin's pension fund managers and those who work directly
with the state's investments will receive six-figure bonuses this
year because of strong returns, according to figures the
investment board released Wednesday.
The board last
week approved $13.3 million in bonuses to 143 employees, a 66
percent increase from the $8 million in incentive pay handed out
in 2013. Exact amounts for employees were finalized Tuesday and
made public Wednesday.
Of the board's
152 employees, all but nine received bonuses, spokeswoman Vicki
Hearing said. One person was not recommended for a bonus and the
other eight did not qualify because of either when they were hired
or departed the board, Hearing said.
David Villa, the
board's chief investment officer, had the largest bonus at
$660,378. That compares with $421,000 he got last year. Michael
Williamson, the board's executive director, was second highest at
$648,643 this year. Ron Mensink, a managing director, got the
third most at $524,588.
employees received bonuses of at least $25,000.
The bonuses come
at the same time that retired public employees will see their
monthly pension payments increase starting next month for the
first time after five years of decline caused by losses from the
2008 recession that were spread out over that time.
The bonuses were
based on investment performance above market returns over the past
five years, the board said in announcing the pay-outs. The board
ended 2013 beating one-, three- and five-year performance
The board manages
more than $104 billion in assets, most of which is in the
Wisconsin Retirement System, which has more than 590,000
participants, roughly 180,000 of whom are retired. Over the past
five years, investment performance above market returns has added
$2.65 billion to the retirement system, the board said.
Last year the
core fund, a diversified group of investments that all 180,000
retirees have some money in, had a 13.6 percent return, beating
the benchmark of 12.9 percent. The more volatile variable fund,
which has higher risk and about 40,000 investors, had a 29 percent
return. That was just above the 28 percent performance benchmark.
In 2012, the
bonuses were $4.3 million, a third of what they were this year.
That was after investments in the core fund increased just 1.4
percent and the variable fund dropped by 3 percent.
compensation must be earned," the board said in a release.
"The plan rewards higher performing staff only when they add
value to the trust funds."
pay-performance plan has allowed it to hire and retain
well-trained staff and dedicated experts needed to maintain the
system and manage risk, the statement said.
"SWIB is a
large, complex, sophisticated defined benefit investment
organization that adds value at a low cost for participants and
taxpayers," Williamson said in a statement, adding that money
managers are out-performing market returns at a cost much less
than outside managers would charge.
compensation plan is competitive with the private sector, but well
below what is paid east and west coast money managers, the board