Contact: Brad Young (919) 814-3820

October 31, 2016
Treasurer Cowell Reports Third Quarter Pension Fund Returns
Fund Increased 8.4 Percent Over 12 Months, 3.5 Percent for Quarter
Raleigh, N.C. – State Treasurer Janet Cowell today reported state pension fund returns for the third quarter of 2016 ending September 30, 2016. The fund, comprised of the retirement plans the Department of State Treasurer manages, reported a gain of 3.5 percent for the quarter. Over the last 12 months, the fund gained 8.4 percent. These figures and all of the following performance figures are reported net of all fees and expenses. Pension fund assets were valued at $89.8 billion, up from $87.6 billion at the end of the second quarter.
“As I prepare to end my term as Treasurer, I am proud of the work we’ve done over the last eight years on behalf of public servants to secure their retirement. We first had to stabilize the pension fund, which had lost more than 20 percent of its value in the months before I took office at the height of the recession. Then, we worked our way back and made strategic investments to optimize the fund for the future. As the office transitions to the next Treasurer, North Carolina has one of the four best-funded public pensions in the nation—one that is well-situated for the long-term benefit of public employees,” Treasurer Cowell said.
For the second quarter, public equity (stocks), which makes up more than four-tenths of the total fund, gained 5.7 percent. Inflation-sensitive investments rose 4.3 percent, multi-strategy was up 3.8, opportunistic fixed income rose 3.7 percent, and private equity increased by 2.5 percent. Investment grade fixed income (bonds), which is slightly more than one quarter of the total fund, rose 0.6 percent.
For Treasurer Cowell’s term in office, beginning January 1, 2009, total pension fund assets have returned 8.39 percent per year, above the 7.25 percent long-term actuarial assumed rate of return.
See the report for a full reporting of all asset classes


The North Carolina Retirement Systems, the formal name for the pension fund, is the tenth 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