Public Pensions Investments and Governance

How systems invest is critical to meeting pension obligations over long term

The Pew Charitable Trusts' public sector retirement systems project performs 50-state and major city research on all aspects of public pension systems, including fiscal health, investment practices, benefits design, and governance. State- and locally run retirement systems currently manage trillions of dollars in public pension fund investments.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to investments, but allocation of assets and bottom-line performance ultimately determine plans' fiscal health and the ability to pay for promised retirement benefits. In fact, experts estimate that investment returns account for 60 percent of pension benefits.

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State Public Pension Funds Increase Use of Complex Investments

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Report

State and locally run retirement systems currently manage over $3.6 trillion in public pension fund investments, most of which are held by states. Broadly, half of these assets are invested in stocks; a quarter in bonds and cash; and another quarter in what are known as alternative investments, such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate, and commodities.

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