When the stock market crashed, so did the value of CalPERS’ assets. In June of last year, the fund’s 12-month return was down nearly 25 percent. But at the end of February, that number was not only back in the black – it was up more than 20 percent. Chief Investment Officer Joe Dear says CalPERS is regaining confidence.
Dear: “A year ago, we were looking into the abyss, wondering if the end was here. Now, we go, how fast is the recovery going to occur? Is it going to be relatively slow or relatively sharp? That’s a way different question.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean the fund’s actual dollar value is back to pre-recession levels. At the end of 2007, CalPERS had investments totaling more than $250 billion. Right now, it has about $200 billion.
The nation’s largest pension fund provides retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million public employees, retirees and their families.