NYSTRS Remains Financially Strong, Well Funded


The Retirement System's investment portfolio returned 2.8% net of fees for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012 – in line with returns posted by peer pension funds. The 2.8% return followed 2011 and 2010 returns of 23.2% and 12.1%, respectively. The System's funded ratio of 96.7% far exceeds the industry average of 75%, making NYSTRS one of the best-funded plans in the nation.

NYSTRS' 25-year return of 8.5% remains higher than the assumed rate of 8%.

"Like all public pension systems, NYSTRS is a long-term investor with liabilities not due for 30 years or more," said NYSTRS Board President R. Michael Kraus. "As such, we are prudent investors focused on strategies that produce stable returns over an extended time horizon. Essentially, we are managing money for future generations, not the next quarter.

"This long-term view allows us to build a strong and well-diversified growth portfolio that will supply the funds for member pensions both now and in the future. Additionally, because of the broad diversification of assets, we are able to withstand short-term market fluctuations without impacting the plan's long-term health."

These figures and much more can be found in NYSTRS' Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.

Other highlights from the CAFR include:

  • System investments experienced appreciation of $660 million in 2012.
  • Net assets totaled $88.1 billion at June 30, 2012. (Net assets represent funds available to pay current and future benefits.)
  • The size of the System's active membership declined for the second consecutive year, while the number of retired members and beneficiaries continued to grow.
  • Fiscal year benefit payments totaled $5.9 billion. More than 80% of these benefits were paid to New York residents, whose spending is vital to the local, state and national economies.
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