Virginia Retirement System

Jul 14, 2014

The return on Virginia Retirement System investments fell 21% in 2009—but the pension fund has now rebounded and is exceeding expectations. That’s the message delivered by VRS officials to state lawmakers.

VRS investments yielded returns that increased by double digits in the last two fiscal years, with a 15.7% return last year alone.  VRS Board Vice Chairman Robert Greene said the fund set a record.

“The fund amount, $66.1 billion, makes an historic high for the fund, exceeding all previous fund balance amounts.”

That was due to its investment allocations and a bullish market, but also to reforms passed two years ago, which committed to increasing the state’s contribution to the fund and enrolling new hires in a hybrid retirement plan that requires a larger portion from employees. This year’s budget funded 80%of what the VRS actuary says the state should contribute. Senator Janet Howell noted that the markets performed well.

“It’s important that we remain committed, as some of the policymakers here, that we don’t dip into this VRS fund—as was the practice in the past—but that we keep our commitments.”

Officials said the numbers will improve as a larger share of employees enroll in the hybrid plan and the state funds 100% of what the actuary requires.