AP: Wisconsin's pension fund managers were given more than $8 million in bonuses as a reward for strong investment returns, nearly double what they received last year, according to records released to The Associated Press on Friday. The bonuses come as most retirees are about to see their pension payments decrease in May for the fifth year in a row due to effects of the 2008 recession.
Chief Investment Officer David Villa is getting the largest bonus of nearly $421,000. Two managing directors, Bill McCorkle and Ron Mensink, were the next highest with bonuses of nearly $287,000 and about 282,000, respectfully.
Last year, the state's core fund, a diversified group of investments that includes benefits for all 167,000 retirees in the Wisconsin Retirement System, grew by 13.7 percent. While the state's investments grew, core fund investors will see a cut in benefits of 9.6 percent starting in May because pension payments are based on a five-year smoothing formula. Even in 2008, when core fund investments dropped by 26 percent, the board handed out $1.7 million in bonuses. State of Wisconsin Investment Board spokeswoman, Vicki Hearing said, "If we paid outside managers, it would cost more than three times the money to manage those same funds."
Some comfort and transparent distraction. It's funny, but if we didn't have these geniuses on the board, I wonder how many other geniuses would take the job for so much less with small or no bonuses.