Private equity has been good to U.S. public pensions. In the decade ended June 30, the asset class returned a median 13.7%, with the median return among the top 10 plans a bit higher at 15.6%.
Recent data from the American Investment Council show the $19 billion Illinois State Board of Investment, Chicago, led the 176 plans surveyed with a 16.7% annualized return over the 10-year period, followed closely behind by the 16.4% posted by the $76 billion Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, Boston. The Illinois State Board of Investment's private equity allocation was about $751 million according to P& I's Top 1000 Plan Sponsor Survey, but only 3.9% of total plan assets. Perhaps recent performance will encourage the plan sponsor to increase its allocation.