State retirement system reports strong investment returns

July 29, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Maryland's State Retirement and Pension System announced a second consecutive year of strong investment returns yesterday, a development officials say is a sign that retirement benefits for current and former state employees are secure.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, the system earned a 9.5 percent return on its invested assets, an increase of more than $1.9 billion over the previous year, according to a news release from the system. In all, the system's assets have grown by $5.3 billion in the past two years.

The system administers death, retirement and disability benefits for more than 279,000 current and former state employees, teachers and others.

"Every participant can remain firmly confident in his or her retirement system," said Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who is chairman of the system's board.

Three years ago, the system's performance ranked among the worst in the nation, and its management was beset by scandals that resulted in the 2004 conviction of former investment manager Nathan A. Chapman Jr. on federal fraud charges. Since then, lawmakers have passed a series of reforms, and investment returns have rebounded.

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