US - The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) has registered a $3bn loss for the 2001 financial year - its first loss for 17 years.
The VRS, the 29th largest pension fund in the US and 44th internationally, suffered a 7.4% loss for 2001, leaving the value of its total portfolio at $37.6bn. The VRS claims that turbulent equity markets were to blame for the loss, as both its public and private equity accounts sustained double-digit losses in the fiscal year ended in June.
During the 2001 fiscal year, the VRS saw its US, international and private equity stock portfolios lose 12.2%, 15.2%, and 25.2% respectively. The 2001 losses leaves the VRS with three and five-year annualised return figures of 6.2% and 11.5% respectively.
Despite the losses incurred by its public and private equity holdings, the VRS did see positive returns on its real estate and fixed income investments. The real estate portfolio saw a 14.1% gain in 2001, whilst bonds posted a 11.7% return.
Speaking about the 2001 performance figures, Nancy Everett, the VRS’ chief investment officer, said: “2001 was a tough environment for the equity markets. The equity market has been extremely volatile, particularly across the technology related sectors. This has had a tremendous impact in the US and the global economy. However our fixed income and real estate investments helped to alleviate some of the impact of the negative equity returns.”
Currently, the VRS has $18.1bn invested in US stocks; $5.5bn in international equities; $9.2bn in fixed income; $1.7bn in real estate, and $2.5bn in private equity.
By Geoffrey Ho
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