June 29, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - For the 100 largest public-employee retirement systems in the country, earnings on investments totaled $179.2 billion in Q1, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
The Bureau notes this is the largest earnings on investments since its Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions began collecting this data item in the third quarter of 1974. Total holdings and investments increased 5.6%, from $2.6 trillion last quarter to $2.8 trillion in the first quarter. There was a year-to-year increase of 0.7% from $2.7 trillion in the first quarter of 2011. Total holdings and investments reached the second highest level since the market downturn of 2008.
In addition, government contributions reached the highest level since the survey began collecting this data item in the third quarter of 1974. There was a quarter-to-quarter increase of 12.7%, from $21.5 billion to $24.2 billion in the first quarter and a year-to-year increase of 14.5% from $21.1 billion in the first quarter of 2011.
Employee contributions quarter-to-quarter increased 1.5%, from $9.2 billion to $9.3 billion in the first quarter. There was a year-to-year increase of 7.9% from $8.6 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Government contributions comprised 72.2% and employee contributions comprised 27.8% of total contributions.
Corporate stocks comprised more than one-third (35.1%) of the total cash and security holdings of major public pension systems for the current quarter. Corporate bonds comprised more than one-eighth (13.5%); international securities comprised nearly one-fifth (19.9%); and federal government securities comprised less than one-tenth (8.1%). More information is at http://www.census.gov/govs/qpr/.