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CalPERS passes $300 billion in assets for the first time

CalPERS

The asset size of CalPERS, the largest defined benefit pension plan in the U.S., crossed the $300 billion mark for the first time.

California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, reached $300.4 billion on Wednesday, spokesman Brad Pacheco said in an e-mailed statement.

Mr. Pacheco said in the statement that recent performance of the stock market has helped the pension fund achieve the milestone, but he also expressed caution about the future.

“While this is good news, there is still much more work to be done,” Mr. Pacheco said. “CalPERS has approximately 70% of the assets necessary to pay long-term retirement benefits. When our assets fell during the downturn, our pension liabilities never stopped accruing.”

CalPERS assets had reached $253 billion on Dec. 31, 2007, but one year later, assets had dropped by more than a quarter to $183.3 billion.

The Federal Thrift Savings Plan, Washington, is the only U.S. retirement plan with more assets than CalPERS; its defined contribution plans had combined total assets of $403 billion as of March 1.