Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

September 13, 2013

41 Va. Retirement System workers get bonuses

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Retirement System employees are getting bonuses for the agency’s performance in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The bonuses include a total of almost $4.5 million awarded to 41 members of the pension system’s internal investment staff. Nearly 300 other employees will receive bonuses of 2.5 percent of salary totaling $423,000. There also are bonuses worth 2 percent to 4 percent of salary, totaling $360,000, to reward individual performance.

The public pension system’s board of trustees approved the bonuses on Thursday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.,

The system showed an 11.8 percent return on its investments in the last fiscal year. The internal investment staff also helped save the system an estimated $11.4 million in fees to Wall Street fund managers.

“In addition to outstanding performance, the internal asset management team continues to operate at a low level of cost when compared to the fees that would be charged by outside managers who offer similar strategies,” VRS Chairwoman Diana F. Cantor said in a letter Thursday to Gov. Bob McDonnell and the leaders of the General Assembly budget committees.

As of Sept. 2, the pension trust fund was estimated to be worth $57.8 billion.

VRS Director Robert P. Schultze said Thursday that “we’re going to be just fine” as long as the next governor and legislature, which will convene in January, abide by legislation adopted last year that will require the state to fund at least 80 percent of the contributions required for the next two budget years.

The General Assembly and governor repeatedly have underfunded the contributions recommended by the VRS board and actuary over the past 20-plus years.

On Thursday, the board approved an agency budget of nearly $70 million for each of the next two fiscal years. The two-year budget includes about $2.2 million each year for new initiatives, such as support for pension reform programs, and $4.1 million each year to continue expanding the internal investment department.

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