As of June 30, 2009, the nation’s 100 largest state and local government employee retirement funds had aggregate cash and security holdings of just over $2.2 trillion, marking an increase from the prior quarter, yet still below levels of the past few years, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

And while roughly one-third of their combined portfolio is invested in corporate stocks, their reliance on the stock market is decreasing, both in numbers and percentage.

The Quarterly Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems survey  includes data collected from a panel of the 100 largest public retirement systems. 

The largest systems are determined by total asset size, measured in government census years, which are years ending in “2” and “7.” The 2007 Census of Governments surveyed over 2,700 retirement systems.

On alternate – or non-census – years, data in the annual reports is based on a survey of all state retirement systems and a sample of local retirement systems in order to produce estimates of aggregate level data for all state and local public employee retirement systems in the U.S. 

Quarterly reports, however, are based on a panel comprised of the 100 largest systems, which represent 90 percent of financial activity among public retirement systems.

As illustrated in the accompanying table, the 100 largest public employee retirement systems carried the greatest dollar amount invested in corporate stocks during the quarter preceding the peak of the stock market.  Since then, while the greatest proportion of pension funds’ holdings remain in corporate stocks, the dollar amount and percentage have both decreased. 

On an aggregate basis, the distribution of cash and securities in the nation’s 100 largest retirement systems breaks out as follows in the current year, compared to two and five years ago:

 (dollar amounts in millions)


June 30, 2009


June 30, 2007

(2 years ago)

June 30, 2004

(5 years ago)

Corporate Stocks







Other Securities







Corporate Bonds







International Securities







Federal Govt Securities







Cash and Deposits














State and Local Govt Securities







Findings of the quarterly analysis are sent to the Federal Reserve Board, which uses the data in its Flow of Funds Accounts of the United States report.  The Flow of Funds report illustrates cash flow among consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and government, as well as national debt and savings trends.

NEW_SECTIONTen Largest U.S. Public Employee Retirement FundsEND_SUPP_HDR

Data in the Quarterly Finances of Selected State and Local Government Employee Retirement Systems is based on a panel of the 100 largest funds, which comprise 90 percent of financial activity among retirement systems in the country. 

As of the 2007 Census of Governments, the ten largest state and local government employee retirement systems in the U.S., based on total cash and investment holdings, were as follows:

  1. California Public Employees Retirement System
  2. California Teachers Retirement System
  3. New York Public Employees Pension and Retirement System
  4. Florida State Management Services Retirement System
  5. Texas Teachers Retirement System
  6. New York State Teachers Retirement System
  7. Wisconsin Employees Retirement System
  8. Ohio State Teachers Retirement System
  9. Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System
  10. Oregon Public Employees Retirement System