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Florida state pension plan posts 7th year of positive gains, now worth $141B

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Florida’s state retirement system is showing a net gain over the past fiscal year, a streak of positive returns now in its seventh year.

LobbyTools reports that Florida State Board of Administration released preliminary investment performance figures Tuesday for the fiscal year ending June 30. The numbers show the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan earning 0.61 percent, beating its benchmark and finishing the year with a market value of $141.42 billion.

According to the report, three sectors had the highest performance: real estate, private equity and fixed income, with growth rates of 12.66 percent, 7.36 percent and 4.35 percent respectively.

Strategic investments, cash and cash equivalents, and global equity showed somewhat slower returns: 1.83 percent, 0.33 percent, and -3.09 percent respectively.

“The positive net returns show the value of diversification, our success in controlling costs, and the prudence and patience of sticking to the fund’s long-term investment plan in a challenging year,” said FRS Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer Ash Williams. “This year’s return results in the second longest streak of positive returns for the fund in the past four decades. Additionally, we are very pleased with the team of qualified employees at the SBA. Without the value added by our staff, the fund’s return would have been negative for the year.”

Florida Retirement System Investment Plan was established to provide Florida’s public employees with a flexible alternative to traditional pension plans, has and has been posting seven years of gains in returns and participation.

LobbyTools notes that the state personnel system covers about 160,700 employees, including state agency employees. State University employees make up about 28 percent of the FRS, with the rest in the justice system, courts and Legislature.

In 2014-15, Florida had a ratio of 105 state workers for every 10,000 residents, 49.8 percent less than the national average.

Since Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, the state workforce has dropped more than 7,000 employees.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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