While the University of Texas made headlines over the weekend for disclosing it had taken delivery of $1 billion in gold (albeit in a Comex warehouse in New York), another Texas fund is making waves today however for all the wrong reasons. As Bloomberg announces, "The Teacher Retirement System of Texas needs an annual return of 21 percent in the year ending Aug. 31 to maintain an 80 percent funded ratio, the level actuaries consider adequate to cover liabilities, said its deputy director." Needless to say, as Brian Guthrie, the fund's executive director admitted, “We’d have to have remarkable investment returns for the rest of the year to reach 80 percent.” Considering that the fund’s investment return was 14.7% in 2010, the best among large public pension funds, it is more than obvious that a major portion of the fund's 109 billion in assets as of April 1 is already in stocks. Which is why should the market swoon following the end of QE1, the best performing fund of 2010 may well be the worst performing fund of 2011. And even if by some miracle stocks surge enough to fill the performance void for the rest of the year, it is still not guaranteed that the fund will make up for the performance shortfall, even as pensioners' capital is likely tied in with such bloated, overvalued garbage as 4x+ beta, triple digit forward earning multiple stocks (full list of key equity holdings below).
Even with the gains, the pension’s funded ratio -- the portion of promised benefits covered by current assets -- dropped to 81.3 percent as of Feb. 28 from 82.9 percent on Aug. 31, 2010, because of trading losses in 2008 and 2009 included through a process called smoothing, Executive Director Ronnie Jung said April 7.
Public pensions nationwide are grappling with about $3.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities, according to a 2010 study by Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Rochester.
Texas Teachers’ annualized return for the decade ended Dec. 31 was 4.8 percent, below the fund’s assumption of an 8 percent annual return.
Texas legislators are considering reducing the state’s contribution to the fund, which is now 6.64 percent of employees’ salaries. The Texas House earlier this month passed a budget that would cut general revenue spending by $4.6 billion, or 5.2 percent, during the 2012-2013 biennium.
The pdf below shows the top 500 positions in the latest publicly disclosed stock holdings of Texas Teachers per Thompson One.