UPDATE 2-Calpers pension fund's 2012 return 13.26 pct

Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:29pm EST

MONTEREY, Calif. Jan 14 (Reuters) - The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the biggest U.S. pension fund, posted a return of 13.26 percent in the 2012 calendar year, its chief investment officer said on Monday.

The fund's 2012 return was below a 14.43 percent benchmark, largely as a result of its returns on private equity assets, Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear said at a meeting of the fund's board to discuss strategic issues.

The $252 billion pension fund, best known as Calpers, posted a 12.24 percent return last year on it private equity assets, compared with a sector benchmark of 28.45 percent.

For the current fiscal year to date, Calpers has posted a 7.09 percent return. The pension fund has a target of an annual return of 7.5 percent to meet its obligations.

Separately, at its meeting in Monterey, California, the Calpers board re-elected Rob Feckner to a ninth term as its president.

Feckner has been on the board since 1999 and has led it in a soft-spoken manner while pressing Calpers' corporate governance and shareholder activism campaigns and as the fund seeks to recover from steep losses from the financial crisis.

Investments held by the fund, best known as Calpers, peaked at about $260 billion in 2007 and sank to a low of $160 billion in March 2009.

The Calpers board also re-elected George Diehr to a sixth term as its vice president.

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