CalPERS reports 4.3% return for quarter on strength of public equity

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CalPERS posted a 4.3% return for the quarter ended Sept. 30, topping its own 3.6% custom benchmark and rebounding from the dismal 1% return the pension fund reported for its fiscal year ended June 30.

The returns, part of the agenda material for the Nov. 13 investment committee meeting of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, show that public equities, the pension fund's largest asset class with $118.6 billion, posted a 7% return for the quarter. That return was just slightly below the pension fund's custom benchmark of 7.1%.

Fixed income, the second-largest asset class at $43.2 billion, posted first-quarter returns of 3% compared to 2.4% for the custom benchmark.

The $32.8 billion private equity portfolio lost 0.1%, although results were better than the pension fund's custom benchmark return of -4%.

The $24.7 billion real assets class, which includes real estate, timberland and infrastructure investments, posted a 0.9% return for the first quarter, below the 2.2% policy benchmark.

Both private equity and real asset results are as of June 30, since they lag the pension fund's total returns by one quarter.

The $5.4 billion absolute-return portfolio posted a 2.2% return for the first quarter, topping the custom policy benchmark of 1.4%.

CalPERS reported $245.3 billion in assets as of Oct. 4.