The New Jersey Pension Fund, Trenton, posted a return of 14.81% for the six months ended Dec. 31, according to preliminary data prepared by the division of investment, a unit of the state Department of the Treasury that manages investments for the $83.3 billion pension fund.
The returns, net of all fees for the first half of the pension fund's current fiscal year, topped the benchmark of 13.94%
The results were presented in a division report Wednesdayto the State Investment Council, which formulates policies for the division.
"We are confident that the pension fund has realized a strong recovery," Corey Amon, director of the division of investment, told council members Wednesday, comparing the latest results to those during the depths of the economic downturn and stock market decline during the first half of last year that were caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
By June 30, the end of the previous fiscal year, the pension fund had assets of $76.7 billion. For the previous fiscal year, the pension fund's net return was 1.21%, well below the benchmark of 4.13%.
The division's report also showed the calendar-year returns for several reporting periods that ended Dec. 31, 2020, with the more recent annualized returns failing to beat benchmarks.
The one-year return was 10.75% vs. a benchmark of 12.11%; the three-year annualized return of 8.1% fell below the benchmark of 8.75%; and the five-year annualized return of 9.27% trailed the benchmark of 9.97%.
However, the 10-year annualized return of 8.26% beat the benchmark of 8.01% and the 20-year annualized return of 6.2% topped the benchmark of 5.95%.
Also at the council meeting, Assistant Treasurer Dini Ajmani told members that state lottery proceeds for the last six months of 2020 were ahead of the pace compared to the last half of 2019.
Lottery proceeds are a component of the state's annual contribution to the New Jersey Pension Fund. Although state officials have counted on annual proceeds of about $1 billion each fiscal year, proceeds fell short during the previous fiscal year with about $937 million.
However, for the six months ended Dec. 31, lottery proceeds of $500 million were 7.6% higher than the proceeds for the year-ago period. Ms. Ajmani said initial results from January appear encouraging.
For the current fiscal year ending June 30, Gov. Phil Murphy's budget calls for a $4.7 billion pension fund contribution combining lottery proceeds and general revenue. The state has made the first two of four quarterly payments.