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Investments gain at New Mexico pension, permanent funds

SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s retirement and investment funds are reporting an increase in returns and assets amid a rebound in U.S. stocks and other markets during the three month period ending in September.

Managers of New Mexico’s public retirement fund for educators said investment returns surged by 3.7 percent during the fiscal quarter ending Sept. 30. Assets held by the Education Retirement Board climbed to an all-time high of $11.7 billion.

The board oversees pensions for employees of public school districts, charter schools and universities across New Mexico. The board’s chief investment officer, Bob Jacksha, said assets grew even as pension benefit payments outpaced contributions from employees by about $100 million from July through September.

The New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association also had investment returns of 3.7 percent, as assets grew from $14.1 billion to $14.5 billion. “It was a strong quarter for any global investor with exposure to global equity markets,” Chief Investment Officer Jon Grabel said.

The association manages retirement savings for municipal, county and state employees, including police, firefighters, judges, magistrates, state lawmakers and volunteer firefighters.

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The state’s major public pension funds are confronting long-term challenges as unfunded liabilities increased during the most recent fiscal year, lengthening the number of years it will take to ensure solvency.

The value of funds overseen by the New Mexico State Investment Council, meanwhile, climbed by $709 million to $20.8 billion at the end of September on robust investment returns. The investment council oversees the state’s Land Grant Permanent and Severance Tax funds that help fund public schools and infrastructure projects across the state.

The funds’ investment gains more than offset reduced collections from oil and natural gas leases and royalties on state lands, which are down from two years ago because of lower energy prices. Preliminary figures for October show combined assets fell to about $20.5 billion.


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