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Majority of public plans assume lower returns in 2018

Public pension plans, as a group, have been lowering their return assumptions since 2009. In 2018, 73% of the 128 plans surveyed by the National Association of State Retirement Administrators reported a return assumption of 7.5% or lower. Comparatively, 55% were at or below 7.5% in 2017, and 38% in 2013.

Eleven plans still hold on to returns above 8%, with the Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association leading the group with an 8.5% return. Two other Minnesota plans, the Public Employees Retirement Association and State Retirement System, maintain return assumptions of 8%. During 2017, 27 plans maintained return assumptions at or above 8%.