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February 17, 2014

Treasurer Cowell Reports End-of-Year Pension Fund Returns

RALEIGH, NC – State Treasurer Janet Cowell reported today that for the year ending Dec. 31, 2013, the North Carolina pension fund returned 12.28 percent. The fund returned 4.04 percent for the last quarter of 2013. Pension fund assets are valued at $86.02 billion, an increase from the $83.1 billion reported at the end of the third quarter and $78 billion one year ago.

"I am pleased to report that 2013 market returns helped make our strong pension fund even stronger for the benefit of taxpayers and the public employees who depend on it for a secure retirement," said Treasurer Cowell. "Last year, I received bipartisan support from the General Assembly to gradually move some money out of low-interest earning bonds and into better growth assets such as real estate and credit investments. This diversification should help protect and grow the fund during the next few years of anticipated poor performance in the bond portfolio."

The pension fund's global equity (stock) portfolio gained 26.24 percent for the year, with a 7.60 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 2013. Continuing a trend in the low-interest rate environment, the fixed income (bond) portfolio was down 3.49 percent for the year and down 0.18 percent for the quarter.

The strong pension returns were driven primarily by public equity performance, but the other asset classes made strong contributions as well. For the year, credit gained 16.56 percent, real estate was up 11.56 percent, and private equity gained 11.72 percent.

View the Fourth Quarter Performance Report​​


The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the formal name for the pension fund, is the eleventh largest public pension fund in the country. It provides retirement benefits and savings for more than 875,000 North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers and other public workers. For more information, visit