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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Here We Go Again

A repeat title to clarify. Yesterday's post ended up as a mass of corrections and additions. My original first paragraph was the only thing that should have been published. The second paragraph is dead wrong and results from a transposition of numbers. The third paragraph tries to correct the errors of the second paragraph. It is probably easier to just repeat, in different words, the key point.

In 2005, the variable simple earned less than the regular Tier 1 or Tier 2 accounts. This is because the variable is invested in a different pool than the other accounts. The variable pool is a more aggressive mix of equities. In a good year - as last year was - the variable *usually* does better than the regular, which is why there is so much confusion. Unfortunately, while last year was a good year, it was also an unusual year. It parallels a few earlier years in the mid-1980's when the regular outperformed the variable on a pure earnings basis. PERS is not holding back any earnings from the variable. It distributes what is earned. Read PERS' financial pages carefully. You won't find a shred of evidence that the variable earned any amount other than 8.29%. But if you read the summary page, you can be misled into thinking it SHOULD have earned more. You're reading more into the page than is there. Read it carefully.

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