More Leeway For State Pension Fund Investments

The General Assembly wants the state treasurer to have more leeway to invest pension fund money.

The Senate gave final legislative approval Tuesday to allow Janet Cowell's office to invest up to 10 percent of retirement funds in things like timberland, commodities and securities rated below investment grade.

The House agreed to the changes last week. The bill now heads to Gov. Beverly Perdue's desk.

Cowell's office has said she needs more flexibility to keep returns at or above what's needed to meet long-term retiree obligations.

The retirement system remains one of the nation's healthiest public pension funds even though it's lost a combined $21 billion between early 2008 and March of this year due to lagging stock and
real estate markets.

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