Contact: Frank Lester (919) 814-3811
February 6, 2018

Treasurer Folwell reports 13.5 percent return for pension plan in 2017



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(Raleigh, N.C.) – State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, announced today that the state pension plan reported gains of 13.5 percent for calendar year 2017, outperforming its benchmark of 12.8 percent. Pension fund assets were valued at $98.3 billion, up from $89.1 billion at the end of 2016. The pension plan, known as the North Carolina Retirement Systems, is managed by the N.C. Department of State Treasurer. Treasurer Folwell made the announcement during his monthly “Ask Me Anything" media availability.

“We are very pleased to see these gains at a time when the pension fund as a whole had less exposure to risk," said Treasurer Folwell. “Our investment management team, including interim Chief Investment Officers Chris Morris and Jeff Smith, has done an outstanding job of protecting and sustaining the pension plan on behalf of the public workers who rely on it during their retirement."


The following 2017 performance figures are reported net of all fees and expenses:

  • Public equity, which makes up almost 40 percent of the total fund, gained 24.4 percent
  • Private equity rose 12.0 percent
  • Non-Core Real Estate and Opportunistic Fixed Income returned 12.4 percent and 7.1 percent respectively
  • The multi-strategy portfolio rose 13.6 percent for the twelve-month period
  • Inflation-sensitive and diversifier investments increased by 8.6 percent
  • Investment-Grade Fixed Income earned 4.4 percent

Treasurer Folwell and the investment management team cut costs significantly in 2017 to provide more value to members of the pension plan. During the first year of Folwell's administration, fees paid to Wall Street investment managers were reduced by more than $60 million for a projected savings of $240 million over four years. That figure exceeds Folwell's pledge to cut fees by $100 million over four years.

The department also moved $100 million in passive indexing funds under in-house management in 2017 as a means of further reducing fees while maintaining performance as measured by the Russell Top 200 index strategy and the Russell Mid Cap index strategy.


Click here for a full listing of asset classes.


The North Carolina Retirement Systems is the tenth largest public pension fund in the country. It provides retirement benefits and savings to more than 900,000 members, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers and other public workers. For more information, visit www.nctreasurer.com.

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