US - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has posted a return of 13.5% for 2004 and reached an all-time high of US$182.9bn in assets.
The fund’s assets climbed US$21.5bn from the previous year, according to a report by Mark Anson, CalPERS chief investment officer.
“This performance hit on all cylinders,” commented Rob Feckner, acting board president and chair of the CalPERS investment committee.
“These gains, once again, will have a positive impact down the road on reducing employer contributions and lifting the taxpayers’ burden. It should provide assurance to our members that their financial future remains secure, and that we are well prepared to meet our benefit obligations.”
CalPERS’ performance was almost double the 7.75% average annual return required to meet projected retirement obligations to its retirees.
The best performing asset classes were specialised real estate (24.6%) and international stock investments (21.6%).
The fund’s US stock investments earned 11.7% while its international fixed income investments posted a return of 12.5% and its US fixed income investments earned 7.4%.
Assets in the Alternative Investment Management (AIM) programme, which specialises in private equity holdings, grew by 17.8% compared with a benchmark that gained 11.1% and earned CalPERS US$2.8bn in cash profits during the year. CalPERS investments in hedge funds returned 8.9%.
The fund’s asset allocation stands at 68% equities, 26% bonds and other fixed income and 6% real estate.
Meanwhile, CalPERS has approved a plan aimed at highlighting corporate environmental liabilities and improving transparency and timely disclosure of environment impacts.
Under the plan, the fund will: join the Global Carbon Disclosure Project, an international effort to improve the transparency of business risks associated with climate change; improve data transparency in the auto industry; explore opportunities to develop a model greenhouse gases reporting project that ensures “timely and standardised” disclosure of environmental data in the utilities industry; and recognise individual companies that demonstrate best practices in environmental data transparency.
CalPERS’ push for transparency is the latest environmental investing initiative approved by the fund. Last year, the fund launched a US$200m environmental technology programme.
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