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Wyoming Pension Plans Doing Better Than Expected

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Amy Richards, Townsquare Media

The Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) Board recently met with its actuarial consulting firm to receive the annual results for the funding status of each of the 7 pension plans it oversees.

According to a news release, these results provide a snapshot of each plan’s assets and liabilities as of 1/1/2014. The reports came in more favorably than anticipated due to higher than expected investment earnings along with gains on assumptions such as salary increases (which were less than projected).

Ruth Ryerson, WRS Executive Director says “recent contribution increases for 3 of the plans have been very beneficial and the Board is not seeking additional increases.”

The Public Employee Pension Plan, which is the largest of all WRS plans, had a funded ratio of 77.62% compared to 72.80% last year when assumption changes are included. Projections show a 114.7% funded ratio in the year 2044. Although there is a current contribution rate shortfall in this plan, it is projected to diminish and the board will not pursue further contribution increases or benefit changes at this time. The projected trends of the plan lead to full funding in 2036.

The Paid Firefighter A Plan had a 68.32% funded ratio compared to 67.20% last year. The actuary has indicated that the 3% annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) required by state law is not affordable without additional funding for the Plan. This has been brought to the attention of the plan members and the legislature.

The remaining plans also had better than anticipated actuarial results and show improved funding trends.

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