I am writing to provide an update regarding the proposed retirement contribution rate increases in the Law Enforcement Pension Plan, described in the letter dated December 20, 2019. These rate increases were not passed into law by the 2020 Wyoming State Legislature. Current rates in the Law Enforcement Pension Plan remain in effect, unchanged since 2002.
As of that December letter, the Law Enforcement Plan stood at 85.57% funded, including the effect of an estimated 18% investment return in 2019 (actual final return was 18.7%). The good 2019 return did improve the trajectory of the plan. Additional analysis by our actuaries showed the plan reaching 100% funding in 2034.
However, everyone is aware of the current bear market that began in February. The market conditions will have an impact on the Law Enforcement Pension Fund, but it is too early to say where we will be in December 2020. However, we know that retirees are living longer and that this market event will likely push out the year of "100% funding" beyond what was estimated during the legislative session.
In spite of the market, you can be assured that your pensions are safe and your investment team is working hard to find "good assets at good prices." Over time, the fund will recover. But it is possible that rate increases will still be prudent in order to reach funding objectives. We will see and we will keep stakeholders informed.
WRS recognizes that any rate increase imposes a financial impact. However, a pension is still one of the most important benefits for employee recruitment and retention, particularly in the public safety area. It is wise to consider adjustments while the plan is still well-funded.
But for now, rates in the Law Enforcement Pension Plan remain as they have been. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our employer relations team at 307-777-2077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.