Wisconsin Retirement System Fully Funded, But Audit Finds Some Errors

MacIver News Service | August 20, 2015

[Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) is in good condition according to a report released by the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) this week. However, LAB detected some errors after the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) was required to follow new accounting standards.

The Audit Bureau’s report shows WRS had a $92.2 billion fiduciary net position – the amount it has in assets to cover any liabilities. Total pension liabilities came to $89.7 billion in calendar year 2014, resulting in a net pension asset of $2.5 billion. According to the audit, Wisconsin’s pension system is 102.7 percent funded.

The $92.2 billion of available funds represents a 2.5 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 with 89.9 billion in the fund in 2013.

When compared to other state retirement systems, Wisconsin is performing very well. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is only 83.3 percent funded – holding $132.8 billion in assets compared to its $159.5 billion in liabilities. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is even worse. It is only 76.5 percent funded and has a net liability of $58.4 billion.

While the WRS is performing well, the Legislative Audit Bureau noted that a new pension accounting standard was issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. This resulted in some errors when preparing financial statements.

The errors were corrected after LAB brought them to the attention of the ETF. In the future, LAB recommends that ETF processes be changed to prevent or detect errors.

The full audit is available by clicking here.