46 Wisconsin pension fund managers awarded six-figure bonuses by state investment board

Forty-six 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, data released Thursday by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board showed.

The board last week approved nearly $12 million in bonuses to 142 of its 150 employees. The bonuses are down 10.4 percent from the record-high amount awarded last year. It released the individual awards on Thursday at the request of The Associated Press.

Michael Williamson, the board's executive director, received the highest bonus at just over $509,000. Chuck Carpenter, a managing director, was second highest at nearly $494,000. David Villa, chief investment officer, was third highest at just under $460,000.

Eighty-seven employees received bonuses of at least $25,000.

"SWIB operates in a highly competitive industry and seeks to hire and retain talented professionals, then compensates them based on their ability to meet aggressive targets and add value to the trust funds," Williamson said in a statement.

The bonuses were based on investment performance above market returns over the past five years, the board said in announcing the pay-outs. Investments have grown $1.4 billion above-market returns the past five years, which benefits 590,000 participants in the Wisconsin Retirement System. Members of the retirement system are current and past public employees and their families.

The board manages more than $106 billion in assets. It met its one-year benchmark and beat its five and 10-year benchmarks for the Core Fund, which is the main source of public pensions. Returns in that fund last year were 5.7 percent, while the smaller and more volatile Variable Fund returned 7.3 percent.


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