WASHINGTON May 12 New York state's pension fund
reached its highest value on record of $176.2 billion at the end
of its fiscal year in March as the rate of return on its
investments jumped to 13.02 percent, the state comptroller said
The public pension fund, the third largest in the country,
ended the previous fiscal year with $160.4 billion in assets
after its investments returned 10.4 percent.
Investment earnings provide the bulk of public pensions'
revenues and last year's rising stock market offered much-needed
respite for retirement systems that were hurt by both the
financial crisis and states' budget crunches. Public pensions
ended 2013 with $3.192 trillion in cash and security holdings,
the highest level since 1968, according to the U.S. Census.
The performance of the New York State Common Retirement
Fund's assets mirrored the wider market from April 1, 2013
through March 31, 2014. The New York fund's rate of return was
nearly double its long-term expected rate of 7.5 percent and the
highest since fiscal 2011.
Domestic equities, which make up 37.7 percent of the fund,
had returns of 22.3 percent and foreign stocks, representing
13.1 percent of the portfolio, had returns of 13.1 percent.
Global equities, an asset class made up of both domestic and
foreign stocks which is only a sliver of the allocations,
returned 25.1 percent.
The fund's fixed-income investments, 21.4 percent of its
total portfolio, had losses of 0.2 percent. Its Treasury
Inflation-Protected Securities, representing 5.8 percent of the
portfolio, had losses of 6.2 percent.
In recent years, many pensions have branched out into
riskier investments in the hope of higher earnings.
The New York retirement fund's "absolute return
strategies," or hedge funds, now make up 3.2 percent of its
investments and had returns of 9.9 percent last fiscal year.
"Opportunistic Alternatives," or investments that offer high
risk-adjusted returns, only constitute 0.3 percent of its
portfolio and had returns of 7.8 percent.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; editing by; Andrew Hay)