Colorado PERA’s 2012 Return Will Top 13 Percent . . .

 . . . California’s Public Pension CALPERS Posts 13.26 Percent Return for the 2012 Calendar Year.

The largest public pension fund in the United States, the California pension CALPERS, reported yesterday that it achieved a 13.26 percent total return in calendar year 2012.  Since the Colorado PERA and CALPERS portfolios are similar we should expect a 2012 Colorado PERA return in this neighborhood.  

Markets continue to recover from the downturn of the most recent recession.  As the Colorado General Assembly and the Colorado PERA Board of Trustees were informed in 2010, market volatility is to be expected and provides no legal justification for the breach of public pension contracts by state governments.

In 2010, a majority of the members of the Colorado General Assembly (harassed by 17 lobbyists) voted to breach Colorado PERA retiree pension contracts.  Upon entering public service, these state legislators pledged to defend the Colorado and United States constitutions.  Did they consider this oath of office an empty ritual?

Prior to attempting a breach of its contractual obligations, the Colorado General Assembly should have paused and considered the words of Colorado PERA Executive Director Meredith Williams:

“Because PERA is a long-term investor, we know that at times we’ll have losses, but those losses will be offset by gains over the long run in PERA’s diversified investment portfolio.  The bottom line is that the PERA portfolio is well diversified and able to withstand the ups and downs of the market over time.”

– Meredith Williams (8/1/08)

(As an aside, I have always wondered why it is that CALPERS is able to provide its investment performance a mere two weeks into a new calendar year, while this same task occupies Colorado PERA’s investment staff for a six-month period.)

From the LA Times:

“California’s massive public employee pension system gained more than 13% in investment returns last year, most of it from stocks and real estate, the agency said.”

“It was the best year for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System since 2006, when the fund gained 15.7%.”

“With more than $250 billion in assets, CalPERS is the largest public employee pension fund in the U.S.  The agency administers retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million current and retired state, school and local government employees and their families.”

“‘We’re definitely pleased,’ said Joe DeAnda, a CalPERS spokesman. ‘Our hopes are that the performance will continue along these lines.'”


From the Sacramento Bee:

“‘The higher investment returns were spread across a broad category, with spokesman Joe DeAnda citing ‘strong gains in global stocks and real (estate) assets.'”

“Stocks gained 17.2 percent.  Real estate gained 12.8 percent, as the portfolio continues to rebound from huge losses suffered during the housing market meltdown.”


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