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New York comptroller: Pension fund rises to $181.7 billion with quarterly investment gain

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ALBANY, New York — New York's pension fund for state and local government workers has risen to $181.7 billion following an investment return of 1.9 percent in its latest quarter, the state comptroller's office reported Friday.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the fund's trustee, said the growth came "despite market volatility" during the quarter that ended Dec. 31. The goal is diverse investments "that enable us to maximize stable, long-term investment returns that ensure a secure retirement," he said.

The Common Retirement Fund has almost 644,000 government employees in the system — with about 524,000 actively working and earning pension credits — and pays benefits to 422,000 retirees and beneficiaries.

For the fiscal year that ended last March 31, the fund's return on investment was 13 percent.

It currently has 39.5 percent of assets in domestic stocks, 13 percent in international stocks, 29 percent in cash, bonds and mortgages, 7.6 percent in private equity, 6.4 percent in real estate and the rest in other investments.

DiNapoli announced in September that the contribution rates paid by state and local governments for their employees' pension costs will decrease for fiscal year 2015-16 that begins April 1.

The average rate will decrease from 20.1 percent of salary for most public workers to 18.2 percent. For police and firefighters, the employer rate will drop from 27.6 percent of payroll to 24.7 percent.

The fund had a negative return of less than 1 percent in its previous quarter.

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