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Investment Objectives


Pension Commission

The WELS Pension Plan is overseen by the Pension Commission. The Pension Commission is composed of six members: 1 Pastor, 1 Teacher, and 4 Lay Workers. Each member brings a unique perspective and background to the commission. The current Pension Commission members are:

  • Mr. Gene Szaj, Chairman
  • Rev. David Kolander, Vice-Chairman
  • Mr. David McCulloch, Secretary
  • Teacher Robert Fischer
  • Mr. Scott Heins
  • Mr. Thomas Medema

Pension Investment Policy and Objectives

Updated August 2013

The Pension Commission has a written statement of investment policy that is accepted by the Synodical Council of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod for the guidance of fiduciaries and investment management organizations employed to assist in investing and accumulating assets of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Pension Plan ("the Plan "). Listed below are excerpts from the full statement.

Purpose of the Statement

The purpose of this Statement is fourfold:

  1. Set forth investment objectives, policies, and guidelines which are appropriate and prudent in consideration of the needs of the Plan.
  2. Establish criteria against which investment manager(s) retained by the Commission will be measured.
  3. Communicate investment objectives, guidelines and performance criteria to the investment manager(s).
  4. Guide the Commission's ongoing oversight of the investment of the Plan assets.

Role of the Commission

In adopting this Statement, the Commission recognizes its fiduciary responsibility to develop and monitor investment policy and objectives for the Plan solely in the interest of the Plan's beneficiaries.

To that end, in this statement the Commission adopts investment policy and objectives that are deemed most appropriate given the Plan's funding status, liability profile and need for short term liquidity.

The Commission is also responsible for the selection of investment managers, consultants and any other investment professionals required to execute and monitor the Plan's investment policies.

Asset Allocation Guidelines

In determining an appropriate asset allocation for the Plan, the Commission, in conjunction with an investment consultant, has evaluated the Plan's funding status, liability structure and projected benefit payment requirements.

As a result, the Commission has established asset allocation guidelines designed to achieve the target return objective while gaining the risk control benefit of diversification.

The guidelines are as follows:

  Minimum* Target Maximum*
U.S. Large-Cap 23% 27% 31%
U.S. Mid-Cap 3% 5% 7%
U.S. Small-Cap 3% 5% 7%
Non-U.S. Markets 17% 20% 23%
Total Equity 50% 57% 64%
Fixed Income      
Investment Grade 10% 13% 16%
High Yield 3% 5% 7%
Total Fixed Income 15% 18% 21%
Real Estate 5% 8% 10%
Hedge Fund of Funds 8% 10% 12%
Mezzanine Debt 0% 3% 5%
Risk Parity 2% 4% 6%
Total Portfolio   100%  

* Note: Subtotals for Minimums and Maximums may not equal the sum of the corresponding minimums and maximums for the investment managers in the respective asset classes. Allocation targets, therefore, should be reviewed on both an individual investment manager portfolio level and an asset class level.


The total portfolio and individual investment manager target allocations should be viewed as long term investment objectives. The Commission will review the asset allocation of the Plan on a quarterly basis, relative to the allocation target and ranges delineated in the policy. This review and consultation with the Plan's investment consultant may result in period re-balancing by the Commission to stay within the long-term objectives. When the Commission determines that rebalancing is appropriate, the Commission will endeavor to rebalance to the target allocations delineated in the policy.

It may also be necessary to periodically invest excess cash, held in the custodial cash account and invested daily, within the overall investment portfolio. The Commission will review the current cash balance on a quarterly basis and make a determination concerning the utilization of those funds.


The Commission understands their responsibility to diversify the Plan's assets. Investing the Plan's assets in multiple asset classes and using outside investment managers with well-diversified portfolios, is done with the goal of insulating the portfolio from the effects of substantial losses in any single security, or sector of the market.

Review Process

On a periodic basis, but at least once per year, the Commission will:

  1. Review the actual results achieved to determine whether the investment consultant and the various investment managers recommended by the investment consultant have performed in accordance with the policy and the return objectives as set forth therein.
  2. Review the asset allocation guidelines and make any needed changes. The Commission retains an independent investment consultant to assist in the evaluation of the investment managers' performance relative to the objectives outlined in the policy.
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