- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The director of the agency that invests South Carolina’s pension portfolio says investments earned $4 billion last fiscal year, pushing the fund’s worth to nearly $30 billion.

Retirement System Investment Commission Director Michael Hitchcock told a Senate panel Thursday that amounted to a 15.3 percent return for the fiscal year ending June 30, after all management fees were paid. That’s more than double the 7.5 percent annual return lawmakers say is needed to keep the system solvent.

While investments earned $4 billion, the fund’s value increased $3 billion. That’s because the system paid $1 billion to retirees.

The five-year average on investments’ earnings is 11.5 percent. But the average since the agency’s creation in 2005 is 5.4 percent.

Treasurer Curtis Loftis, an agency critic, says the fund continues to underperform.

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