N.J. Pension Returns 10.7% in Seven Months on Equities

New Jersey’s public-pension fund, the 12th-largest in the U.S., returned 10.7 percent in the first seven months of the fiscal year as stocks surged.

The fund, with a market value of $76.5 billion, reported today that global-growth assets performed best, gaining 15.1 percent from July 1 to Feb. 28. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks rose 30 percent in 2013, ending the year at an all-time high.

New Jersey’s pension, with 769,000 active and retired employees, gained 2.67 percent for February and 12.8 percent in the calendar year. The data exclude a fund for police and firefighter mortgages that’s reported on a lagging basis. Returns for commodities, Treasuries and Treasury inflation-protected bonds, or TIPS, disappointed, according to a report from the state Treasury’s investment division.

Governor Chris Christie, a 51-year-old Republican who began a second term in January, said last month that the pension was underfunded by $52 billion after a decade of expanded benefits and missed payments. His proposed $34.4 billion budget for fiscal 2015 includes a record $2.25 billion pension payment.

Christie has said public-employee unions must agree to changes in their retirement and health plans because a 2011 overhaul didn’t go far enough to contain costs.

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