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August 14, 2007

DiNapoli: NYS Pension Fund One of the Best Funded in Nation

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) had a funded ratio of 104 percent, making it the best funded public pension fund in New York State and among the best in the nation.

Speaking before the annual meeting of the Advisory Council for the Retirement System, DiNapoli said the CRF is two years ahead of scheduled compliance with GASB 50, the new guidelines for valuing pension fund assets. He also told committee members that because of the CRF’s strong performance he is optimistic that he will be able to lower 2009 contribution rates that state and local governments pay for their employees’ retirement.

“The Fund is safe, strong and secure,” DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $154.5 billion pension fund, said. “We’re well funded, and we’re well ahead of the curve in complying with new disclosure guidelines.

“We’ve avoided the chaos that other states face. Thanks to sole trustees like Arthur Levitt, Ned Regan and Carl McCall, the courts have ruled that the CRF can’t be used as a political football to balance the budget. Instead of facing multi-billion dollar funding shortfalls like New Jersey and Illinois, we expect to lower contribution rates for state and local governments.”

The CRF has achieved consistently high returns on investments for many years. In May, DiNapoli announced that the fund returned 12.58 percent for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007, outperforming its target return of 8 percent. The Wilshire’s Trust Universe Comparison Service (TUCS), the most widely accepted benchmark for the performance of institutional assets, ranks the Fund’s results in the top 10th percentile of comparable public funds and notes that the CRF has among the lowest risk profiles of public pension funds.

DiNapoli will announce the details on the new employer rates within a few weeks.

The Advisory Council for the Retirement System is one of four advisory committees that provide independent review, guidance and insight to assist the Comptroller in his role as sole trustee. The other committees are the Actuarial Advisory Committee, Real Estate Advisory Committee and the Investment Advisory Committee.



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