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Virginia Retirement System Sees Major Returns

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The Virginia Retirement System’s trust fund has reached an all-time high after large investment returns over the past year, representatives told the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission Tuesday.

VRS has 772,004 members, with government employees contributing money, and retirees receiving benefits. In 2020 VRS paid out $5.3 billion, most of which comes from investment returns rather than contributions.

As of March, it got back a 28.3% annual return.

“With this impressive performance, the VRS trust fund has reached a historic high of approximately $100 billion,” said O’Kelly McWilliams, the Chair of The Virginia Retirement System’s Board of Trustees. “Compare that to $82 billion just one year ago: approximately a 23% increase. I’d like to reiterate that these are preliminary numbers, but at this point we’ve seen robust growth.”

JLARC is the General Assembly’s watchdog and research agency. Nine Delegates and five Senators serve on the commission.

The legislators also heard about the Virginia 529 program. The college tuition savings program has a $1 billion surplus. Legislators voted to look into how that money can be used for college affordability and access.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.