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CalPERS Issues Resonse to Stanford Pension Study
Posted On: Dec 15, 2011

CalPERS Issues Response to Stanford Pension Study

CalPERS today responded to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) report examining CalPERS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP):

“The study is written from a perspective that is intended to exaggerate perceived costs and the instability of pension systems,” said Ann Boynton, Deputy Executive Officer of CalPERS Benefit Programs Policy and Planning. “The report’s findings were based on low discount rates to artificially magnify unfunded liabilities.  It is important to remember that CalPERS invests in a highly diversified portfolio that includes stocks, real estate, and other assets that have historically earned significantly higher returns than the rates assumed in the study.”

The health of the CalPERS fund has improved in the last two fiscal years as noted below:
   •  Over the past 20 years through June 30, 2011, CalPERS has earned an average annual investment return of 8.4 percent in excess of the pension fund’s actuarial rate of return assumption of 7.75 percent needed to pay long-term benefits. The Fund has achieved this rate      by investing in a diversified portfolio with an acceptable level of risk. This historical average includes steep losses experienced in 2008-09.
     •  As of the most recent fiscal year end, the Fund earned a 21.7 rate of return and gained back $60.8 billion from the recent 2009 low of $181 billion. CalPERS assets currently stand at more than $224 billion.
     •  CalPERS has maintained good levels of funding and delivered promised benefits for 80 years.Currently we are near a 75 percent funded status, with an unfunded liability of $85-90 billion.
     •  For every dollar paid in pension benefits over the last 20 years the vast majority came from investments:

Investment earnings                  66 cents
Employer contributions             21 cents
Member contributions               13 cents
More information on CalPERS pensions please see attached
Guide to CalPERS Pension Facts.

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