PSERSreturns down, but still above average

Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) posted gains that, while declining from previous years, were positive and above the national public pension median.

The pension system announced that its returns on investments for the year 2005 were 11.45%, compared to about 15% inn 2004 and more than 25% in 2003. Total returns for the three-year period ending in 2005 stand at 17 percent.

PSERS Chief Investment Officer Alan Van Noord credits real estate, alternative investments and international equities for the positive showing. While returns declined for the second year in a row, Van Noord notes that the’ returns are above the median public pension plan return of 7.6%, a figure that is provided by Wilshire Associates. Wilshire data places PSERS within the top 10% of public pension plan performers for one-year and three-year return periods and in the top quartile of fund performers in the five to 10-year time frame.

PSERS returns somewhat mirrored that of its counterpart, the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). That pension system announced that it avchieved an investment return of 14.9%, last year, compared to a about 15% return the year before and mor ethan 24% in 2003. Private equity led as SERS’ top performing asset classes with returns up 36.5 percent.

PSERS has nearly $55 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2005. It is a limited partner in firms including Adams Street Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors, TA Associates, Madison Dearborn Partners and Landmark Partners.