Mass. Pension Fund Earned 15% In '98

MARCH 1999 - Buoyed
by a strong final quarter, PRIT, the state and teachers' pension fund,
earned almost 15 percent on its investments for the year 1998.

After
the August market crash, which dropped the fund to a negative 1.51% for
the calendar year, the fund rebounded to finish the year with an actual
earnings of 14.91%. This upped the value of the fund to $24.8 billion
at year's end.

Domestic equities,
both large and small cap stocks, which comprise almost 50% of PRIT's
asset allocation, led all categories with a 20.88% return in 1998.

Alternative
investments, which include venture capital, buyout funds, private
market funds, etc., continued strong with a 14.85% return last year.
This category has a current allocation of 4.5% of the total portfolio.

Emerging
markets (E.M.), a onetime crown jewel of the PRIT Fund, continued to be
a drag on the Fund. E.M. showed a negative return of 21.94% for '98 and
has been running in the red to the tune of negative 4.02% over the past
5 years. However, E.M. annualized since inception, showed a respectable
return of 9.34%. This is largely due to an annualized return of 29.13%
through 1993, a period when E.M. shined. E.M. currently constitutes
3.1% of the total fund.

Although
1998 investment earnings of local retirement funds are not yet
available, it is expected that the PRIT Fund will again rank somewhere
in the middle of the Commonwealh's 106 retirement system funds.

In
1997, PRIT earned 18.43%, good for a sixty-third ranking that year.
Lowell (28.83%), Malden (27.5%), North Adams (27.42%), Lawrence
(26.97%) and Bristol County (26.64%) were the top five systems in 1997.

PRIT's
strength lies in its long-term investment performance. Since 1985, when
the current performance standard was initiated, through 1997, PRIT has
earned 12.81%, good for tenth place among the 106 funds. The top five
retirement systems for the same period were Wellesley (14.59%),
Weymouth (13.56%), Taunton (13.31%), Falmouth (13.06%) and Needham
(13.02).

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