Maryland State Pension Fund Returns 3.14% in Fiscal 2023

Strong gains from public equity investments raise the portfolio’s asset value to $65.2 billion.

The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System reported a 3.14% investment return, net of fees, for the fiscal year ending June 30 to raise its asset value to $65.2 billion from $64.6 billion one year earlier. The performance was less than half the pension fund’s 6.8% assumed rate of return but beat its policy benchmark, which earned 2.20% during the period. 

Public equity was the top performing asset class for the pension fund during the fiscal year, returning 13.77%, followed by its credit investments, which earned 5.99%. Cash investments returned 5.26%, while private equity returned 0.26%. Meanwhile, rate-sensitive investments and real assets were the worst performers for the portfolio, losing 3.70% and 3.43%, respectively, during the year, followed by multi asset and absolute return, which lost 1.55% and 1.37%, respectively.

The fund noted the fiscal year performance is reflective of multiple difficult market factors, including rising interest rates, persistent inflation, weak emerging market performance due to a slower-than-expected post pandemic recovery in China and the time delay for private market investments to reflect public market valuation changes. However, it also highlighted a resilient real economy and higher U.S. stock prices despite rising rates and pressures on the banking system.

Over the shorter term, the pension fund reported three- and five-year annualized returns of 8.23% and 6.93%, respectively, ahead of its benchmark’s returns of 7.07% and 6.28%, respectively, over the same time periods. Over the longer term, the portfolio reported 10- and 20-year annualized returns of 7.04% and 6.83%, respectively, while its benchmark had a 6.50% 10-year annualized return. The pension fund did not provide 20-year annualized return figures for its benchmark.

“The board has adopted a diversified asset allocation that has achieved the long-term return targets with as little volatility as possible,” Maryland SRPS CIO Andrew Palmer said in a release. “The allocation includes a mix of assets that behave differently as markets ebb and flow to reduce volatility in any one period.”

Private and public equity investments have been the engines driving the pension fund’s returns over the past five and 10 years. MSRPS’ private equity investments have returned 17.16% and 16.42% over the past five and 10 years, respectively, whiles public equity investments have returned 7.04% and 8.41%, respectively, over the same periods.

As of the end of June, the pension fund’s asset allocation was 30.2% public equity, 21.9% private equity, 17.1% rate sensitive, 15.4% real assets, 8.7% credit, 5.9% absolute return, 0.4% multi asset and 0.4% cash.

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