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N.Y. Public Workers’ Pension Fund Experiences Major Growth

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has experienced a remarkable increase, bringing exciting news for public workers in the state. According to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the fund has now reached a total of nearly $268 billion, showcasing an impressive 11.5 percent return on investment.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund achieved an investment return of over 11.5 percent during the fiscal year ending on March 31. This performance is nearly double the long-term expected rate of return of 5.9 percent, as per the report from the office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Retirement benefits for local

State government retirees are sourced from this fund, which has now amassed nearly $268 billionPublic retirees in New York have a reason to celebrate. The pension fund, managed by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, saw substantial investment returns in the last fiscal year, reflecting a strong financial performance and stability for the future.

This increase not only underscores the fund’s robust management but also ensures that the retirement benefits for local and state government retirees remain secure and promising.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund achieved an impressive investment return of over 11.5 percent during the fiscal year ending on March 31. This return is nearly double the long-term expected rate of return of 5.9 percent.

Strong Performance Amidst Challenges

The fund, which manages the money for local and state government retirees, concluded the year with a staggering total of nearly $268 billion.

“While inflation persists and global tensions pose risks to investors, the fund, thanks to its prudent management and long-term approach, is well positioned to weather any storms and continue to provide retirement security to the public employees it serves,” stated DiNapoli.

Diversified Investment Portfolio

DiNapoli’s office highlighted that the fund — one of the biggest public pension funds in the nation — has a diversified asset base:

  • Nearly 43 percent invested in publicly traded equities
  • 22.2 percent in cash, bonds, and mortgages
  • 14.6 percent in private equity
  • Nearly 13 percent in real estate

Investment Returns by Category

Here’s a closer look at the returns from different investment categories:

  • Domestic equities: nearly 29 percent return on investment
  • Global equities: 24.3 percent return
  • Real estate: 9.7 percent decrease

Benefit Payments

During the same period, the pension fund paid out more than $16 billion in retirement and death benefits. For the fiscal year ending in 2023, the fund disbursed nearly $15.4 billion in benefit payments. This year’s significant investment return is a welcome relief following a 4.1 percent loss during the fiscal year ending in 2023.

Insights from E.J. McMahon

E.J. McMahon, the founding senior fellow at the Empire State Center for Public Policy, a conservative-leaning think tank, emphasized that despite the recent strong performance of the pension fund, the subpar returns from the two prior years indicate that the fund still requires careful management.

The Impact of Market Investments

McMahon pointed out that due to the large share of investments in the stock market, the pension returns generally mirror the market’s performance. However, thanks to the diversification of investments, the fund experiences these gains or losses to a lesser degree.

Employer Contribution Rates

Employer contribution rates are determined by several factors, including:

  • Performance of the fund over a multiyear period
  • Wage growth
  • Inflation
  • Information about pension recipients

These rates are decided by DiNapoli’s office more than a year in advance. McMahon estimates that despite the fund’s recent strong performance, the contributions required of employers are unlikely to decrease in the near future.

Conclusion: While this year’s return is promising, continued vigilance and strategic management are crucial for maintaining the health of the pension fund.

Wayne Spence, the president of the Public Employees Federation, has praised Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for his exemplary management of the state’s pension fund.

DiNapoli’s Effective Pension Fund Management

Spence highlighted DiNapoli’s accomplishments by stating, “As the sole trustee of the state’s pension plan, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has demonstrated time and again that proper diversification and maintaining a long-term investment horizon deliver consistent positive results for New Yorkers. This year is no different.”

McMahon’s Perspective on Pension Fund Management

While McMahon agrees that DiNapoli has done an excellent job keeping the pension fund “well managed,” he expressed concerns about the state Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul’s…

Read More: N.Y. Public Workers’ Pension Fund Experiences Major Growth

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