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Carpenter Reflects on 30 Years at SWIB


Chuck Carpenter

Numbers are a big part of Chuck Carpenter’s job at SWIB. As the managing director of the Private Markets and Funds Alpha Division, Carpenter spends a lot of time reviewing investment returns and portfolio projections. As Carpenter prepares to retire in April, he reflected on another number, 30 years at SWIB, Carpenter said there is only one figure that is truly the most important to him: The more than 632,000 members of the Wisconsin Retirement System.

“WRS members are why each one of us at SWIB comes to work every day, Carpenter said, “to do what we can to have a positive impact on their lives today and in the future.”

Carpenter’s journey to SWIB started at Yale University, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He then earned a master’s degree in real estate appraisal and investment analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Carpenter arrived at SWIB in 1988 and now, three decades later, oversees the private equity, real estate, hedge funds, externally managed active accounts, private debt, and venture capital portfolios. Carpenter is responsible for investment strategy, review and approval of all new investments, and management of four teams of portfolio managers and analysts.

Things have certainly changed over Carpenter’s 30 years at SWIB. The amount of money managed by SWIB has increased from approximately $18.2 billion to more than $116 billion today. As the amount of assets under management has increased and more is managed internally, the staff has grown. Carpenter points to a decision by the Board of Trustees in 2001 to delegate investment discretion to staff and incorporating the “prudent investor standard” into state statutes as two significant changes he has seen during his career at SWIB.

“I think the biggest changes have involved governance,” he said. “Previous statutes and investment policies made it more challenging to address certain attractive investment opportunities. Those changes have helped in allowing SWIB to grow and successfully manage the trust funds.”

Despite all the changes, Carpenter said his main goal remains the same: make money for the WRS. “That means battling in the market to invest in deals that positively benefit the retirement funds,” he said. “I do what I can to enable my team to reach their full potential in maximizing returns to SWIB and reach our overall goal.”

Carpenter is not sure what the next 30 years will bring for him. For now, he is still dedicated to working on behalf of the participants of the WRS and helping SWIB prepare for the next 30 years and beyond. Carpenter is looking forward to the next chapter in his life, but for now, he is still dedicated to working on behalf of the participants of the WRS.