R.I. pension fund earned $1.09 billion in 2017

R.I. TREASURER SETH MAGAZINER announced that the Rhode Island pension fund earned $1.09 billion in 2017. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
R.I. TREASURER SETH MAGAZINER announced that the Rhode Island pension fund earned $1.09 billion in 2017. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s pension fund earned more than $1.09 billion in 2017, ending the year with a value of $8.4 billion, R.I. Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced Wednesday.

“In 2017 we took our investment strategy Back to Basics and delivered strong returns that are helping the pension fund get stronger,” said Magaziner in a statement, referencing his initiative to divest from hedge funds that began in 2016. The fund has exited seven hedge funds for a total of $500 million since the initiative began.

The fund grew $725 million year over year from $7.7 billion at the end of calendar 2016, a 9.4 percent increase. The fund continually pays out benefits, therefore the fund’s earnings are not equivalent to its growth. For the year, the fund investments earned a return of 14.5 percent.

It is also worth noting that U.S. equities performed well in 2017. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had a total return (including dividend reinvestment) of 21.1 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 24.39 percent. And the Nasdaq Composite Index saw a 27.24 percent gain on the year.

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Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor.