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July 26, 2014

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State pension system reports 12.4 percent rate of return on investments in FY 2012

CARSON CITY – The state pension system that covers government workers and police and firefighters is continuing to show strong investment earnings.

Tina Leiss, executive officer of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada, told a legislative committee Thursday the $28.7 billion in assets earned a 12.4 percent return on its investments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012. And for the first six months of this fiscal year, the return was 11.3 percent.

A study of the retirement system by accounting firm Aon Hewitt shows benefits to retirees are equal to many other large public employees system but added “they are not overly generous.”

Investment management fees were 0.10 percent of assets, which is 80 percent below the industry average.

Assemblyman Randall Kirner, R-Reno, praised the system saying, “Compared to other funds the costs are drastically low.”

The system covers state and some local government workers and police and firefighters. There are 87,193 active members and 11,845 police and firefighters enrolled. The average salary of the government workers is $48,626 and $72,637 for police and firefighters.

The system report to the Legislative Interim Benefit and Retirement Committee showed there were 45,796 government retirees drawing an average annual pension of $30,484. The average annual benefit for police and firefighters is $51,645.

These workers do not participate in the federal Social Security system.

Leiss reported that as of Dec. 31, there were 96 retired employees who were hired back by their government and permitted to draw both a salary and their pension. These workers were employed because of a critical labor shortage in their profession. Most of these were in school districts involving special education and math teachers.

Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said there had been a major effort to stop “the double dipping” and suggested retirees who are hired back should train people who can move into their jobs.

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