Top 100 public employee retirement systems now more than $3 trillion

Assets in the country’s 100 largest public-employee retirement systems passed $3 trillion for the first time since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking that figure in 1968.

Cash and security holdings totaled $3.06 trillion in the third quarter this year, a 4 percent increase from $2.94 trillion in the second quarter of 2013 and a 9.8 percent increase from $2.79 trillion in the third quarter of 2012.

Earnings on investments totaled $120.1 billion in the third quarter.

The biggest driver of the increase was international securities and corporate stocks. International securities, which make up about 21 percent of total cash and security holdings for major public pension systems, increased 7.8 percent from $591.5 billion in the second quarter to $637.8 billion in the third. Year-to-year, international securities increased 16.6 percent from $547.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Corporate stocks, which comprise about a third of the holdings of public pension systems, increased 3.8 percent from $1.018 trillion in the second quarter to $1.058 trillion in the third. Year-to-year, corporate stocks increased 11.4 percent from $949.6 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Corporate bonds, which make up about 11 percent of total cash and security holdings of public pension systems, also increased slightly from quarter to quarter, from $321.5 billion to $323.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Year-to-year, corporate bonds decreased 7.1 percent from $347.8 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Federal government securities decreased 0.2 percent from $266.2 billion in the second quarter to $265.7 billion in the third. Year over year, they increased 8.1 percent from $245.8 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Government contributions decreased 3.2 percent quarter to quarter, from $22.9 billion to $22.2 billion in the third quarter of 2013. They increased 14.5 percent year over year from $19.4 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Employee contributions decreased 27.5 percent in the third quarter to $8.3 billion. They increased 3.9 percent year over year from $7.9 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

Total payments were $59.3 billion, decreasing 4.5 percent from $62.1 billion last quarter. Year over year, total payments increased 8.7 percent from $54.6 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

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