According to a survey carried out by United States Census Bureau released March 27, total holdings and investments of major public pension systems continues to rise over $3 trillion, reaching the highest level since the survey began in 1968.

For the 100 largest public-employee pension systems in the country, cash and security holdings totaled $3,191.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, reaching the highest level since the survey began collecting data in 1968. Cash and security holdings had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4.2 percent, from $3,061.6 billion last quarter, and a year-to-year increase of 12.5 percent, from $2,836.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. (Refer to Figure 1.) Earnings on investments totaled $165.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

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Corporate Stocks

Corporate stocks had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 5.9 percent, from $1,058.7 billion to $1,121.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Corporate stocks year-to-year increased 18.1 percent from $949.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Corporate stocks comprised over a third (35.1 percent) of the total cash and security holdings of major public pension systems for the current quarter. (Refer to Figure 2.)

Corporate Bonds

Corporate bonds had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4.6 percent from $322.1 billion to $337.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Corporate bonds year-to-year decreased 1.3 percent from $341.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Corporate bonds comprised less than an eighth (10.6 percent) of the total cash and security holdings of major public pension systems for the current quarter. (Refer to Figure 2.)

International Securities

International securities had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 4.4 percent from $637.7 billion to $665.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. International securities year-to-year increased 14.2 percent from $583.3 in the fourth quarter of 2012. International securities comprised about a fifth (20.9 percent) of total cash and security holdings of major public pension systems for the current quarter. (Refer to Figure 3.)

Federal Government Securities

Federal government securities had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 0.3 percent, from $266.1 billion to $267.0 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. Federal government securities year-to-year increased 5.9 percent, from $252.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Federal government securities comprised less than a tenth (8.4 percent) of the total cash and security holdings of major public pension systems for the current quarter. (Refer to Figure 3.)

Contributions And Payments

Government contributions had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 23.9 percent, from $22.3 billion to $27.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and a year-to-year increase of 4.4 percent, from $26.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Employee contributions had a quarter-to-quarter increase of 25.5 percent, from $8.3 billion to $10.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and a year-to-year increase of 0.8 percent, from $10.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Government contributions to employee contributions had a 2.7 to 1 ratio this quarter—government contributions comprised 72.7 percent and employee contributions comprised 27.3 percent of total contributions. Total payments totaled $59.7 billion, increasing 0.6 percent, from $59.3 billion last quarter, and a year-to-year increase of 5.9 percent, from $56.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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