Opalesque Industry Update: The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today reported a 1 percent return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30, 2012, falling short of its benchmark that returned 1.7 percent. CalPERS assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $233 billion.|
The small gain – despite continued volatility in world markets and economies – was helped by improved performance of CalPERS real estate investments. Investments in income-generating properties like office, industrial and retail assets returned approximately 15.9 percent, outperforming the pension fund’s real estate benchmark by more than 3 percent.
CalPERS performance was negatively impacted by significant allocations to U.S. and international public equities.
“The last twelve months were a challenging period for all investors as the ongoing European debt crisis and slowing global economic growth increased market volatility and reduced equity returns,” said Joe Dear, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer. “It’s a clear reminder that we must remain focused on performance, risk and internal controls in today’s financial environment.”
CalPERS 1 percent return is below the fund’s discount rate of 7.5 percent, a long-term hurdle lowered recently in response to a steady decline in inflation and as part of CalPERS routine evaluation of economic assumptions. CalPERS 20-year investment return is 7.7 percent.
“It’s important to remember that CalPERS is a long-term investor and one year of performance should not be interpreted as a signal about our ability to achieve our investment goals over the long-term,” said Henry Jones, Chair of CalPERS Investment Committee.
Today’s announcement includes asset class performance gains as follows:
Returns for real estate, private equity and some components of the inflation assets reflect market values through March 31, 2012 (not June 30, 2012). Final performance including the last quarter of the fiscal year will be available after asset valuations are completed.
Investment returns are based on compounded daily earnings over the year, including continuing member contributions and benefit payments, and do not precisely correspond to one-year changes in CalPERS overall portfolio market value.
Employer contribution rates that use CalPERS 2011-12 fiscal year investment performance will be calculated based on audited figures and will be reflected in contribution levels for the State of California in FY 2013-14 and for contracting cities, counties and special districts in FY 2014-15.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the U.S. It administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million California State, local government, and public school employees, retirees, and their families on behalf of more than 3,000 public employers, and health benefits for more than 1.3 million enrollees. The average CalPERS pension benefit is $2,332 per month. The average benefit for those who retired in the most recent fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, is $3,065 per month.