US - New York City's pension funds have recorded investment returns of more than 20% in the year to June 30, their highest posting for 13 years.
City comptroller John C. Liu said preliminary data indicates the funds' values at about $119bn at the end of the fiscal year, exceeding the $115bn pre-2008 crash peak and the June 30, 2010 valuation of $97.8bn.
The estimated returns for FY 2011, the first full fiscal year under Liu's control, follow gains of 14% in FY 2010 and reflect stock and bond market recoveries as well as reviews carried out by the comptroller's office and the trustees of the five pension boards.
Together with the trustees, the comptroller's Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) has implemented several changes over the past 18 months in an effort to enhance the team managing the NYC funds. Liu said BAM has "added more than 150 years of investment experience" to its ranks by hiring seasoned professionals to target asset classes such as public equities, hedge funds, fixed income, private equity and real estate.
They are also in the process of completing asset allocation reviews of each of the funds' portfolios to more aggressively capitalise on market opportunities and diversify the mix of investments to mitigate against market fluctuations, he said.
"While the markets remain volatile, we have vigorously pursued a diversification strategy to enhance our returns while lowering pension costs to the city," Liu added. "This will protect pensioners and taxpayers alike in the long run.
"It has been gratifying to work closely with our dedicated trustees to achieve these results."
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