State pension fund loses money for second consecutive year

Rhode Island officials say the state pension fund lost $466 million during the past fiscal year, shrinking its assets by more than 5 percent from just under $7.7 billion to $7.5 billion.

Officials with the Office of the General Treasurer tell The Providence Journal ( ) that 2016 marks the second straight year the fund lost money because benefits payouts outweighed the return on investments and contributions.

The market value for investments in the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island also fell by $26 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

David Ortiz, Gen. Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s spokesman, says the poor investment performance was due to a “highly volatile year in the financial markets.”

Ortiz says the diversification of the fund’s investments protected it from a larger fall.

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