Pension fund had 28.63% return for year ending June 30 — by far its highest return in last 20 years

New Jersey’s pension fund generated a final, unaudited return of 28.63% for the 12-month period ending June 30 of this year.

The return far surpasses any annual return on record for the last 20 years, as well as the 7.3% statutory assumed rate of return for Fiscal Year 2021 — although the Division of Investment noted that the numbers reported are unaudited, and there is the possibility of final audit adjustments.

The fund also outperformed its benchmark of 26.28% by 235 basis points.

The FY2021 return boosted the total unaudited market value of the pension fund to an estimated $94.4 billion as of June 30. This strong performance, coupled with the state’s record pension payment of $6.9 billion for FY2022, will further strengthen New Jersey’s pension fund, state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said.

“This has been a historic year for New Jersey’s pension fund, both in reaching the milestone of making the first 100% actuarially determined contribution in 25 years, and now, with today’s news regarding our returns for the year,” she said.

“Taking a look at the 20-year snapshot, this year’s returns dwarfed any annual performance over the last two decades, far surpassing the next highest return, which was 17.97% in 2011.”

In fiscal year 2020, the fund returned 1.21%

Shoaib Khan, acting director of the Division of Investment, obviously was thrilled by the return.

“We are pleased with the Fiscal Year 2021 returns, both in absolute and relative terms, as well as the broad participation and contributions across asset classes,” he said.

“The fund was well-positioned to benefit from a constructive market environment, albeit a volatile one. The guidance, contributions and effort by the State Investment Council and division staff were invaluable in making these returns possible.”

Most asset classes produced exceptionally strong contributions, led by private equity, public equity, real assets, private credit and real estate.