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Exclusive: U.S. City, County Public Pension Levels Sank in 2012 – Wilshire

Retirees play poker at a singles club in Sun City, Arizona

(Reuters) – Funding levels for U.S. city and county public pension systems plummeted by 11 percentage points to 69 percent in fiscal 2012, pushed down by a poor performance of the stock market and ballooning liabilities, according to a report due to be released later on Tuesday.

The 106 plans studied in a report by Wilshire Consulting had an aggregate $173.6 billion of unfunded liabilities, with $560.6 billion of liabilities they needed to pay out but just $387 billion in assets.

Wilshire found that while the funds’ assets rose by 2 percent, or $6.1 billion, liabilities grew even more – by 16 percent, or $78.1 billion.

“The fact that the liabilities did increase so much … should be a wakeup call to these plans … saying maybe (it’s) time to take a look and see where this growth is taking place,” said Russ Walker, vice president at Wilshire in California.

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