Message to Our Members
To the Members of the Wyoming Retirement System,
Your pension is safe. The implications of the spread of COVID-19 now reach deep into every corner of our lives. We are all concerned about the health of our loved ones; and we know that many are also burdened by worries about jobs, bills, childcare and more. Many wonder what life will look like in the future and what we will be able to rely upon to provide for our families. As you consider these questions, please know that your pension is safe.
The Wyoming Retirement System remains committed to our partnership with you to build financial security for you and your families—today and in the future.
We are long-term investors. It is easy to understand member concern when portfolio assets decline 12% in one quarter. But it is also important to remember that we are focused on long-term return objectives. Investment returns over a 10 year period were approximately 6% per annum inclusive of this recent decline.
We continue to make decisions today with the long-term horizon in our sights.
The portfolio is intentionally well-diversified so that it is better positioned to weather downturns. Our portfolio includes defensive assets that hold up or even prosper in these times. Our investment processes, structure and oversight also provide value. Fiduciary oversight includes periodic liquidity assessment to ensure that we have the capacity to pay benefits for many years to come in any number of market environments. The investment team carefully monitors portfolio changes and applies a consistent investment process. This measured approach is more important than ever in times of significant volatility.
We are committed to maintaining operations without interruption. As of this writing, our offices are open, albeit with fewer on-site team members and with recommended healthcare practices in effect. We encourage members to do business with us via phone, mail, email, fax or our website. We recognize this may not be possible for everyone. If you call, you may hear additional background noise as our service representatives are working from home. Rest assured, we are still able to meet your needs promptly and consistently. The upgrades and improvements made to our IT systems over the last decade have paid off and enabled us to quickly install a remote work environment so that our team can stay connected, efficient and effective in service to members. We can be reached at our main telephone number 307-777-7691.
We are here to serve members, communities and the Wyoming economy. WRS issues about $55 million in pension benefits every month to over 30,000 people – this equates to $660 million per year.
Each year, over $500 million is distributed to folks living in Wyoming.
These reliable deposits arrived in February as the COVID-19 crisis began, the deposits arrived again in March and again in April as the crisis deepened. They will continue to arrive every month. These reliable benefits help stabilize families and local economies.
WRS payments are an economic engine that runs all year, every year. Consistent contributions from the legislature and employees, coupled with prudent investments over many decades, have made this engine what it is today. With fewer economic engines running at this time, WRS’ economic engine matters more.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the many public employees who are on the front lines supporting Wyoming. So many of our members are working to ensure our communities run smoothly, that our children receive an education and that the government services many seek now more than ever, remain available.
We know that you and everyone else is adapting and fighting their own battles. Particularly in these times, we’re proud to partner with you to build financial security for members and their families. Take care and be kind.
David Swindell - Executive Director
Laura Ladd - Board Chair