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Defined Contribution

North Dakota Public Employees puts 2 funds on watch, takes 2 off

North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System, Bismarck, removed two funds from its watchlist and put two other funds on watch for its $14 million 401(a) plan and $109 million 457 plan, said Bryan Reinhardt, research and planning manager, in an email.

At its March 13 meeting, the board removed the PIMCO Total Return Bond Fund and T. Rowe Price Equity Income Fund from formal fund review. The board also put Prudential Jennison Mid-Cap Growth Fund and Franklin Mutual Global Discovery Fund on review.

The Pacific Investment Management Co. fund, in which NDPERS has $1.34 million, was initially put on formal review due to the departure of fund manager Bill Gross and the subsequent outflows. The fund has done well under the new management, according to the NDPERS board.

T. Rowe Price's equity income fund, in which the system has $1.4 million, underperformed from 2014 to 2015, but has been recently outperforming its benchmarks.

Meanwhile, PGIM'smidcap growth fund and Franklin Templeton (BEN) Investments (BEN)' equity fund are underperforming. NDPERS has $500,000 in Prudential's fund and $720,000 in the Franklin fund.

PGIM spokesman Ted Smith declined to comment and Franklin Templeton spokeswoman Pholida Barclay could not be reached for comment by press time.

The retirement system administers five defined benefit plans with roughly $2.8 billion in assets combined. Investments are managed by the North Dakota State Investment Board.