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May 22, 2014

Treasurer Cowell Reports First Quarter Pension Fund Returns

RALEIGH, N.C. – Following the quarterly Investment Advisory Committee meeting, State Treasurer Janet Cowell reported today that North Carolina’s pension fund gained 2.24 percent for the quarter ending March 31, 2014, seeing positive returns in all asset classes. The fund returned 10.88 percent for the 12 month period, outperforming the long-term 7.25 percent target rate of return. Pension fund assets were valued at $87.4 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $83.1 billion at the end of the calendar year.

"North Carolina’s retirement fund is strong and will continue to be conservatively and strategically managed with a long-term view,” Cowell said. “We will continue to thoughtfully and cost-effectively diversify our portfolio to keep the pension one of the strongest in the country."

The pension fund’s global equity (stock) portfolio gained 1.38 percent for the quarter and 19.46 percent for the year. After a poor start to the year, equity markets rebounded in March and closed near all-time highs. Fixed income, which comprised nearly one-third of the fund, continues to see depressed returns; it gained 2.88 percent for the quarter, but was down 0.46 percent for the year.

For the quarter, the credit strategies portfolio rose 3.55 percent, real estate rose 3.36 percent, alternatives rose 3.48 percent, and the inflation protection portfolio rose 3.02 percent.

All returns are net of fees, which were 0.52 percent of the fund for fiscal year 2012-2013. During Treasurer Cowell’s term in office, the pension fund has grown over 45 percent.

View the First Quarter 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 900,000 North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers and other public workers. For more information, visit​.