State Pension Fund Loses 26.3 Percent of Value in a Year


Considering how big New York State’s pension obligations are, it was a cause for concern when the pension fund started to lose value as the market tumbled, dropping about 20 percent between April and October 2008. So in March the state started investing more in private equity markets — which, as Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigations have shown, have perils of their own. Now we learn that the pension fund has taken a 26.3 percent hit in the past fiscal year. Its assets, worth about $154 billion on March 31, 2008, are now worth $109.9 billion. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says this will necessitate larger employee contributions to their pensions, for the sixth straight year. DiNapoli “refused to give details of the performances of the private equity firms that have been at the heart of [Cuomo’s] investigations,” says the New York Times. But he apparently retains faith in them, as DiNapoli says he wants to increase investment of pension money in such markets. He also says that though this has been “the worst year in anybody’s memory… we’ve weathered the storm better than many of our peers.”