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Colorado's retirement system reports strong returns for 2013 fiscal year

July 7, 2014 Updated: July 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm
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DENVER - Colorado's public employee retirement system reported a $6.6 billion investment income in 2013 fiscal year - a nearly 16 percent return on investment.

The Public Employees' Retirement Association now holds an estimated $43.7 billion in assets used to help pay the current and future retirement of more than 512,000 members.

"PERA continues to be one of Colorado's best investments," Gregory Smith, PERA's executive director said in a statement when the agency's annual report was released on June 24.

Despite having achieved an average of 7.6 percent return on investment over the past 10 years, PERA is facing an unfunded liability of $27.1 billion. That means that in the future, PERA could owe more to retirees than it has in assets or income, although it is working to avoid that.

On Dec. 31, 2013, the retirement plan was 60 percent funded, assuming PERA is able to maintain an annual 7.5 percent rate of return on investments.

The board of PERA recently reduced the assumed rate of return from 8 percent to 7.5 percent to take a more conservative approach to the financial future of the retirement fund.

With the new assumed rate of return, and changes to the retirement fund mandated by lawmakers in 2010, PERA is expected to have four of five divisions fully funded in 35 years or less, according to PERA's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The division that handles the retirement plans for the judicial branch of government, however, isn't expected to be fully funded for 45 years.

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Contact Megan Schrader

286-0644

Twitter: @CapitolSchrader

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