New York CRF Lowers Return Rate Assumption

September 3, 2010 ( – The New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) has lowered its assumed investment return rate from 8% to 7.5% as part of a series of moves to deal with continuing market volatility.

A news release from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli also announced increases in 2011-12 employer contribution rates. The average contribution rate for the Employee Retirement System will increase from 11.9% of salaries to 16.3% while the average contribution for the Police and Fire Retirement System will go up from 18.2% to 21.6%.

A Reuters news report said the increases are expected to cost public employers about $400 million.

 “Unfortunately, it takes the economy a lot longer to climb out of a hole than it takes to fall in it,” DiNapoli said, in the news release.  “The markets are still recovering from the 2008-09 financial meltdown, and that recovery continues to be volatile.  We handled the meltdown better than most pension funds, but we’re still feeling the impact, and, as I have consistently cautioned, the employer contribution rates I’m announcing today will reflect the impact of the financial crisis.”

DiNapoli also announced that the fund’s market value declined to approximately $124.8 billion after investments posted a negative 4.38% rate of return for the quarter. The fund provides benefits to more than one million retirees, beneficiaries and active employees.

The latest CRF actuarial report is available here