Big bonuses for managers as pension payments shrink
MADISON, Wis. (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. The bonuses were approved by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board on Wednesday and finalized Friday, said the board’s spokeswoman, Vicki Hearing.
Twenty-nine people will receive six-figure bonuses. All but six employees of the board, 139 out of 145 workers, will receive some bonus. Seventy-four employees will get bonuses of at least $25,000.
Nearly everyone receiving a six-figure bonus is a money manager. Roughly half of the agency’s employees, 66 out of 145, are money managers.
Of the six who didn’t get bonuses, four were ineligible and two didn’t meet performance standards, Hearing said.
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.
The bonus for the retirement system’s executive director was split between the retiring office holder who left in June, Keith Bozarth, and his successor, Michael Williamson. Bozarth will get about $181,000, and Williamson will receive $241,000.
The bonuses are tied to performance and are only given when state investments surpass thresholds set by the board’s trustees in consultation with industry consultants, Hearing said.