September 19, 2008

Retirement funds withstand Wall St. woes

Source: New York Teacher

Despite the ongoing turmoil in the financial markets, the pension funds that cover NYSUT teachers and many support staff remain strong and benefits are secure, according to the state Teachers' Retirement System and the state Employees' Retirement System.

While both systems have holdings in some of the troubled firms that are making headlines, those holdings are relatively small, officials say, compared to the overall size of the funds.

"We don't place all of our investment eggs in one basket," said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He is sole trustee of the Common Retirement fund, which includes the Employees' Retirement System. Some 90,000 NYSUT School-Related Professionals are ERS members.

TRS, the teachers' system, also maintains a well-diversified investment portfolio, so "when one company or asset class underperforms, the stability of the other asset classes offsets that negative performance," TRS officials said in a statement on the fund Web site.

The board that helps oversee TRS investments includes three NYSUT teacher-members.