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Pension Gate Banner


Index Fund Advisors expended a large amount of time and effort in putting together the data that reveals the failure of active management for state pension systems. As of now, there is no central repository of information on state pension performance, so each state’s historical returns had to be individually obtained. Although they are considered public information, they are not always readily available. New York, for example, only publishes the last five years, and several other states only publish the last ten years of portfolio returns. In some cases, we contacted officials from the plans who graciously provided the information.

When you go to our page titled State Retirement Systems, you will see an interactive map of the United States that allows you to see the data and the source for that state. Below that, you will see charts that summarize the returns data for states with a fiscal year end on June 30th. The first one is based on a time period of 13 years and shows the risk and return for 33 states. The second one is based on a time period of 26 years which allows us to show the data for only 19 states. In neither of the two charts did any state plot above the line formed by the IFA Index Portfolios (based on an advisory fee of 0.05%). Below those two charts is a table showing the year-by-year returns for all of the states with a fiscal year end on June 30th. Next, we have a similar set of two charts and a table for states with a fiscal year end on December 31st. Again, no state plotted above the line formed by the IFA Index Portfolios.




For more detail, see the State Retirement System data page.

For anyone who is interested in researching the returns received by various state pension funds, we believe that we have provided a destination Web page. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback you may have. You may e-mail us at

About the Authors

Jay D. Franklin

Jay D. Franklin

Currently serves as IFA's Director of Research. He is both a CFA Charterholder and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. He is a graduate of Yale University with a B.S. in Mathematics.

Mark Hebner

Mark Hebner

Founder and President of Index Fund Advisors, Inc., and author of Index Funds: The 12-Step Recovery Program for Active Investors.

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