Wisconsin Retirement System posts -7.3% return in tough markets

Wisconsin Retirement System’s $116.5 billion core trust fund returned a net -7.3% for the year ended June 30.

The core trust fund’s return just exceeded its benchmark return of -7.8% for the period, according to materials for the Madison-based State of Wisconsin Investment Board’s Tuesday investment committee meeting.

For the three, five and 10 years ended June 30, the core trust fund returned an annualized net7.5%, 7.9% and 8%, respectively, above their respective benchmarks of 6.9%, 7.2% and 7.5%.

The core trust fund had returned a net 28% for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021.

The latest fiscal-year returns for the pension fund reflect a challenging return environment for public equities and fixed income during the past year. For the year ended June 30, the Russell 3000 index and Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond index returned -13.9% and -10.3%, respectively, in sharp contrast to returns of 44.2% and 4.6% for the year ended June 30, 2021.

For the most recent year ended June 30, the top performer was private equity/debt, which posted a net return of 26%(above its 21.5% benchmark); followed by real estate at a net 25.3% (below its 27.3% benchmark); inflation-sensitive assets, -5.1% (equal to its benchmark); public fixed income, -12.7% (-12%); and public equities, -16% (-15.9%).

Actual asset allocation information as of June 30 was not available.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board oversees a total of more than $130 billion in assets, including those of the Wisconsin Retirement System. The pension fund’s fiscal year ends Dec. 31.

SWIB spokesman Chris Preisler could not immediately provide further information.