CA Pension Funds Take Big Hit from Market Declines

August 10, 2011 ( - The recent market declines have hit the nation's largest public pension fund, which lost about $18 billion off the value of its stock portfolio from July 1 until the August 9 market rebound.

Officials of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said they view the stock market turmoil as a chance to hunt for stocks at bargain prices and are maintaining a long-term investment view, according to the Associated Press.  

The AP reports that the California State Teachers’ Retirement System also sustained losses, but spokesman Ricardo Duran declined to say how large they were. The fund had moved some investments out of the stock market as a defensive move before the downturn, but is monitoring the situation and not making any aggressive moves to buy or sell stocks for now, he said.  

In July, both CalPERS and CalSTRS reported investment gains of more than 20 percent for the fiscal year ended June 30, largely driven by stock values. CalPERS assets grew by $37 billion to $237.5 billion (see CalPERS Sees Best Performance in 14 Years); CalSTRS added $29 billion to reach $154.3 billion (see CalSTRS Posts Best Investment Return in 25 Years).  

The recent market drop has also dealt a severe blow to corporate pensions, according to data from Mercer (see Recent Market Drop Deals a Severe Blow to Pensions).