News and insights about the complex, prudent, and disciplined investment strategies the State of Wisconsin Investment Board has put in place to help grow and protect the assets of the Wisconsin Retirement System.
Navigating today’s financial markets takes innovative thinking to design and implement investment strategies that control risk while generating reasonable returns. In a time when public pension funds across the country are struggling with issues related to underfunding, SWIB has helped fuel one of the only fully funded pension systems in the U.S.
Join us as we talk about the importance of managing assets in a more challenging environment and optimizing cost over the long term on behalf of the more than 642,000 current and former state and local government employees and their families who rely on the WRS for some of their retirement security.
SWIB is recognized as a premier investment organization because of its strong management of the trust funds of the WRS and several other smaller trust funds. SWIB has been successful in generating respectable returns to help ensure the WRS is able to meet its obligations today and in the future.
Exploring the Innovative Strategies that SWIB is Deploying to Generate Returns for the WRS
Innovation has always been critical to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board’s (SWIB’s) success. As assets under management continue to grow, and the investment industry and the world continue to change, SWIB is positioning itself for the future, finding innovative ways to invest the public pension funds and help secure the financial futures of the people who rely on the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).
Last year, SWIB continued to look forward when it launched two new internal alternative fixed income strategies. The new Mortgage Backed Securities and High Yield Portfolios are designed to target less efficient segments of the market. In addition, SWIB partnered with three North American public pension plans to create the Global Peer Financing Association, an innovative nonprofit investment group focused on peer-to-peer securities financing opportunities.
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about these innovative initiatives, find out more about how they fit into SWIB’s overall investment strategy for the WRS, and learn how they are keeping SWIB at the leading edge of institutional investing. We're joined by Mike Shearer, SWIB’s head of alternative fixed income strategies; Dave Jordan, SWIB’s high yield portfolio manager; and Chris Benish, a managing analyst in SWIB’s Asset & Risk Allocation Division.
70 Years of Service: A Look Back at the History of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board
This year, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) is celebrating 70 years of service to the state of Wisconsin. A lot has changed over the past 70 years. And, while our world has and continues to change, one thing that has remained a constant is SWIB’s commitment to helping provide retirement security for hundreds of thousands of current and former state and local government employees and their families, who rely on the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS).
Since its creation in 1951, SWIB has grown into a premier asset manager recognized around the world for its innovation and success, strong leadership, dedicated staff, and a forward-thinking culture. In this episode, we're going to talk with Rochelle Klaskin, SWIB's deputy executive director and chief administrative officer, as we look back at how a unique partnership led to the creation of SWIB. Hear how, with the help of government leaders and system participants, SWIB has over the past seven decades met the challenges posed by a vastly changing investment industry to keep the WRS among the only fully funded public pension systems in the country. We'll also look ahead at what SWIB’s next 70 years might hold.
SWIB's New Executive Director and CIO Edwin Denson Charts a Steady Course for the WRS
Excellence, innovation, integrity, collaboration, and people. Those are the core values at the heart of SWIB’s mission to the members of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). Edwin Denson, SWIB’s new executive director and chief investment officer, is using those core values to build on SWIB’s already strong foundation as one of the country’s premier investment managers.
Edwin joined SWIB in 2018 as the managing director of asset and risk allocation, responsible for risk analysis, allocation and oversight, asset allocation, passive portfolio and leverage implementation, macroeconomic analysis, and fund level investment strategies. After arriving at SWIB, Edwin worked to more than double the asset and risk allocation staff to help build out innovative investment strategies for the WRS. In April, the Board of Trustees appointed Edwin to lead SWIB. Now, he is using his wealth of experience in both public and private sector asset management to continue to move the agency forward and deliver results for the WRS.
In this episode, we will get to know SWIB’s new leader a little bit better and hear what’s in store under his direction.
Strong Governance Keeps SWIB Positioned for Success, with Board of Trustees Chair David Stein
As an institution, SWIB has had to adapt and overcome significant challenges over the last year — among them, frenetic markets, the workplace disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the passing of SWIB's former executive director and chief investment officer David Villa.
But through it all, SWIB has continued to serve members of the Wisconsin Retirement System at a high level, due in large part to the unique governance structure that positions SWIB as a global leader in public pension asset management.
In this episode, we discuss how SWIB's nine-member, independent board of trustees supports the solid foundation of leadership that makes SWIB’s success possible with Board of Trustees Chair David Stein. We talk to David about the search for and recent appointment of SWIB's new Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer Edwin Denson, the board's vision for the future, and how strong governance is keeping SWIB well-positioned for the future.
Running the Long Race with Derek Drummond, SWIB's Funds Alpha Portfolio Manager
Competing under challenging circumstances is nothing new for Derek Drummond. As a triathlete who competes in several events throughout the year, including Madison’s Iron Man competition, Derek challenges himself through tough endurance races with hopes of establishing a personal best time.
Derek’s competitive spirit carries over into his work. As SWIB’s funds alpha manager, Derek is constantly pushing himself and his team to find investments across traditional and alternative strategies that will benefit the Wisconsin Retirement System and its over 650,000 members. Being an investment professional and a tri-athlete requires the ability to think clearly under pressure, draw on information from past experiences, and excel under difficult and changing conditions.
In this episode, we talk to Derek about just what alpha generation is and why it is important to SWIB’s sophisticated investment strategy. We also ask Derek what makes 2021 an interesting investing climate, and what are the largest opportunities and threats he sees on the horizon.
Managing Directors Round Table, with Edwin Denson, Brian Hellmer, and Anne-Marie Fink
In 2020, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) remained committed to its long-term investment strategy, resulting in strong returns for the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), even in a challenging year.
The Core Fund, the larger of the two WRS trust funds with more than $120 billion in assets, ended the year with a net return of just above 15%. The Core Fund's 5- and 10-year returns both exceeded the pension system's actuarial target.
The great news for WRS participants is that exceeding the pension fund’s 7% target return for both the 5- and 10-year periods is expected to result in continued stability in employer and employee contribution rates and a positive annuity adjustment for retirees of around 5%.
In this episode, we hear from Edwin Denson, SWIB's managing director of asset and risk allocation; Anne-Marie Fink, the managing director of private markets and funds alpha; and Brian Hellmer, managing director of global public market strategies, about their perspective on SWIB’s success in 2020 and what we might expect in the 2021 year ahead.