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May 10, 2013
By: Rick Baert

Cook County Annuity & Benefit Fund had a funding ratio of 53.5% in 2012, while the Cook County Forest Preserve District Employees’ Annuity & Benefit Fund had a 56.7% funding ratio, according to an a new actuarial valuation.

The county plan’s funded status as of Dec. 31 was down 3.8 percentage points from 12 months earlier and still far below its 90% funding ratio in 2000, said Bridget Gainer, county commissioner in a news release. The forest preserve plan’s funding ratio was down 4.9 percentage points from a year earlier. The pension funds, with a combined $8 billion in assets, are based in Chicago.

The unfunded liabilities of the county employees fund grew to $6.79 billion, a 16.7% increase from 2011. The unfunded liabilities of the forest preserve fund totaled $131.9 million, an 18.6% increase from 2011.

According to Ms. Gainer, updated 30-year funding projections show the county employees’ fund will be insolvent by 2034, while the forest preserve fund will be insolvent by 2031.

“The actuarial valuation highlights the nearly $900 million growth in assets the fund recorded in 2012 thanks to strong investment performance, with net returns of 12.5% exceeding the 7.5% actuarial return assumption,” said Nickol Hackett, the pension funds’ executive director and chief investment officer, in an e-mail. “However, these results do not offset our long-term funding challenges.”

Copyright 2013 Crain Communications Inc.

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