- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - State officials say New Jersey’s pension fund beat market expectations when it earned nearly 7.3 percent on its investments last year.

But analysts tell NJ.com (https://bit.ly/1zrPT8C) that those gains didn’t live up to the 7.9 percent annual rate they say is needed to keep troubled pension fund from adding to its liabilities.

Tom Byrne, acting chairman of the State Investment Council, says its investments returned 7.27 percent, but were hurt largely because of market volatility in the second half of the calendar year.

In the fiscal year that began July 1, 2013, and ended halfway through last year, the pension investments had earned 16.9 percent.

While the council manages the state’s investments, it doesn’t have any say in setting or making pension contributions.

New Jersey’s public worker pension system is underfunded by about $37 billion, the report said. With roughly 770,000 active and retired employees, the fund doles out $650 million to $700 million a month to pay for pensions and benefits.

Its roughly $80 billion in assets puts the state’s fund among the 12 largest public pension funds in the U.S., according to the Division of Investments.

New Jersey has the fourth highest pension liabilities as a percentage of total revenues in the nation, according to a Moody’s Investors Services ranking. Only Illinois, Connecticut and Kentucky rank worse.

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Information from: NJ.com, https://www.nj.com


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