TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s $143 billion pension fund has been on a “circular roller coaster ride” this year, which could result in the first year of a negative return since the fund plummeted 19 percent in 2009.
But over the long term, the fund — which pays retirement benefits for state, county, school system and higher-education workers — has performed well. Since its recession-based plunge in 2009, the Florida Retirement System fund averaged an 11.76 percent gain in the subsequent half-dozen years, ranging from a 22 percent high in 2011 to a meager 0.29 percent return in 2012. It gained 3.67 percent last year.
As the June 30 end of the fiscal year approaches, the $142.7 billion in pension investments showed a 0.4 percent gain as of May 3, with the fund reflecting a $5.3 billion decline from its starting point, the result of the roughly $600 million in benefits paid out each month.