Latest Fund Update
The City of Milwaukee Pension Fund had a return of 1.7%, net of fees, in the second quarter of 2018. This outperformed the Fund’s blended benchmark by 1.1%. Economic indicators were strong, with second quarter U.S. GDP growth coming in at 4.1%, and the unemployment rate at 4.0%. This supported public equity markets, with the Fund’s public equity allocation gaining 1.3%, net of fees, outperforming its benchmark by 0.6%. The Federal Reserve increased its policy target for interest rates and reiterated plans for future increases, which weighed on fixed income markets. Despite this, the Fund’s fixed income asset class was up 0.3%, net of fees, outperforming its benchmark by 0.4%. The Fund’s alternative asset classes continued to perform well. Strong private equity reports came in, resulting in a 4.1% quarterly return. Absolute return was up 2.6%, net of fees, in the second quarter, and real estate was up 2.1%, net of fees, in the first quarter of 2018, which is the most recent quarterly data available. The market value of the Fund on June 30, 2018 totaled approximately $5.36 billion, and the year-to-date return was 1.7%, net of fees.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision
On July 6, 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in a case brought by the Milwaukee Police Association and joined by the Milwaukee Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local #215, against the City of Milwaukee. The Court overturned a 2013 amendment to the City Charter which provided for the addition of three Annuity & Pension Board Trustees appointed by the Mayor and changed the manner of election of three employee-elected Trustees.
As a result of the Court’s decision, the three Trustee seats occupied by mayoral appointees were removed from the Board effective immediately as of the Court’s decision on July 6, 2018, and the three employee-elected Trustee seats are vacated until such time as a new election can be held among actively-employed Members of the Employes’ Retirement System voting for candidates for all three Trustee seats, running at-large.
Until the vacant employee-elected trustee seats are filled, the Annuity & Pension Board will consist of five Trustees, convene with a quorum of four Trustees and act on matters brought before the Board upon the affirmative vote of four Trustees.
The Trustee seats which comprise the current five-member Board are: 1) three Trustees appointed by the President of the Common Council; 2) the Trustee elected by the ERS retirees; and 3) the City Comptroller as an ex-officio Trustee.
Phone Tree Changes
In order to serve you better, we have updated our phone system. Now you will hear our new menu options that will allow you to be directly connected to the staff person you need. When you call, please listen carefully to these new options.
New Medicare Cards in 2018
CMS, the authority that manages Medicare, has begun issuing replacement Medicare cards and is anticipating the replacement of all cards over the next year. This new card will replace the existing Medicare cards you have, and will include a new identity number called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The MBI will replace the HICN that is currently used (that looks a lot like your social security number). More information about this can be found on CMS's website. Your benefits will not be impacted with this change.