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New York State Pension Value Rises to Record High $160.4 Billion

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- The value of the New York state pension fund rose to a record $160.4 billion in year ending March 31, recovering after the financial crisis wiped out almost one-third of its assets, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, which provides benefits to almost 1 million state and local workers and their beneficiaries, had an estimated 10.4 percent rate of return in fiscal 2013, DiNapoli said in a statement. That’s about the same gain posted by the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index over the same period. The fund was valued at $154.5 billion in 2007, before the start of the longest recession since the Great Depression.

“The New York State Common Retirement Fund has reached a milestone,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “It remains well positioned for growth as the financial markets continue to gain strength.”

New York has one of the nation’s best-funded retirement plans, with about 94 percent of assets needed to pay projected obligations in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It isn’t alone in seeing gains. The 100 largest public pensions in the U.S. had $2.9 trillion in assets in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That dropped to $2 trillion in 2009 and rebounded to almost $2.8 trillion as of Sept. 30.

Domestic equities, which compose about 36 percent of the New York fund’s total investments, returned 14.5 percent, the most of any of the fund’s asset classes, DiNapoli said.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension, reached a market value of $260.8 billion after returning 13 percent in 2012, it said last month. It had $260.6 billion on Oct. 31, 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Freeman Klopott in Albany, New York, at fklopott@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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