Great news: Montana pension investments gain 10%

August 22, 2013 / Comments (0)



“The effort to save and rebuild the system that we, my wife and I, paid into and now draw from, was heroic, necessary, and successful. Thanks again and again.” (MEA-MFT member Jon Salmonson, retired Montana state employee, thanking MEA-MFT for its work in protecting the public employee pension systems)


The folks who invest and manage your pension dollars are doing a great job. See article below for proof.


Pension investments took a big hit in the market crash of 2008, along with all other investments nationwide. But the Montana Board of Investments has done a stellar job carefully managing Montana’s pension funds back to their pre-recession market value.


Throughout the 2013 legislative session, while MEA-MFT worked with Governor Bullock and others to pass bills that shore up and amortize PERS and TRS, we heard naysayers – particularly some legislators — claim that the Montana of Board of Investments was inept, incompetent, incapable of investing robustly enough help fund pensions going forward.
All untrue. Clearly, the people who made those claims have another agenda – to end public employee pensions entirely.
“The Montana Board of Investments is in fact investing taxpayer AND public employee contributions to our retirement systems wisely and well,” said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.  “Yet another example of good government at work.”


MEA-MFT member Jon Salmonson, writing to Feaver about MEA-MFT’s efforts to save the pension systems, said, “The effort to save and rebuild the system that we, my wife and I, paid into and now draw from, was heroic, necessary, and successful. Thanks again and again.” Salmonson is a retired state employee who worked at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge for “just shy of 17 years.”
Report: Montana pension investments gain 10 percent




HELENA — Managers of state pension money performed better than average, a new report reviewed on Wednesday showed, despite concerns about increasing costs.


The benchmarking report from consultants was discussed by the Montana Board of Investments and indicated the returns exceeded the average for other public investment systems.


“We are doing an excellent job,” Chief Investment Officer Cliff Sheets said. “I think if you take a look at it with the underlying explanations, it is all good and it is getting better.”


Board member Gary Buchanan said he was concerned about big growth in outside costs for managing the money. The issue needs to be closely watched, he said, adding that he hopes a final tally will show costs decreased during the past year.


Investment managers said the performance takes those costs into account. They also said the board has improved its way of managing the funds.


“I don’t think there are any excuses we need to make,” Sheets said.


Earlier this summer, the board reported that Montana’s pension funds had returned to their pre-recession market value.


The net gain on pension fund investments was just over 13 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30. That put the total value of the funds at $8.54 billion, reaching their late 2007 value before the 2008 financial meltdown resulted in a loss of a quarter of their value.


The Legislature earlier this year passed two major bills reforming the pension systems that ask employees and their public employers to pay more into the system. The moves are expected to avoid multi-billion dollar shortfalls that had been projected in the coming decades.


The board was expected to earn about 8 percent on investments over the long haul in order to help balance the systems.



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