Report: New Jersey Pension Investments Trailed S&P 500 For Seven of Last Eight Years

New Jersey's investment returns vs. the S&P 500 CREDIT: IB Times

New Jersey’s investment returns vs. the S&P 500
CREDIT: IB Times

Last week, journalist David Sirota reported on the New Jersey pension system and its drastic shift towards hedge fund investments under Chris Christie.

This week, Sirota has analyzed the state’s financial records. His finding: despite the increased allocation toward hedge funds and other alternatives, the pension system has mostly underperformed relative to the broader market.

Sirota writes:

In seven of the eight years since the state began shifting pension funds into so-called alternative investments, returns have fallen well short of the broader stock market, an analysis of state financial records shows. In those seven years, New Jersey’s alternative investment portfolio has produced gains of just more than half of the S&P 500, the widely watched index seen as a proxy for shares of large corporations.

[…]

The below-market results from the state’s $20 billion alternative investment portfolio belie repeated assurances from New Jersey officials who said the investments would overperform the stock market. Instead, the results buttress arguments by investors like Warren Buffett and some local lawmakers, who assert that pension money should be invested in stock index funds rather than hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, real estate and other alternative investments.

Christie has responded to the fund’s under-performance by claiming that, although it has under-performed the broader market, it has beaten the fund’s internal projections.

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