TRS Reports Investment Return of 0.76 Percent

The retirement fund for downstate and suburban public school teachers barely broke even on its investments last year. Brian Mackey has more on Thursday’s report from Illinois’ largest government pension fund:

At 0.76 percent, the Teachers’ Retirement System had its worst performance since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, when it had negative rates of return.

But TRS spokesman Dave Urbanek says there’s no reason to panic.

URBANEK: “The sky is not falling.”

He says year-to-year swings are expected.

URBANEK: “We did not do handsprings over the fact that last year we had a 23.6 percent rate of return on our investments. And we’re not crying over the fact that this year the rate of return was only 0.76 percent.”

Still, that’s far less than TRS’ investment goal of 8 percent. The system recently lowered its long-term outlook from 8.5 percent. That has consequences for assessing the long-term health of the pension system, which along with Illinois’ other state pensions remains a contentious political issue this year.

— Brian Mackey

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