Reacting to wild markets, Philadelphia pension pulls $50 million from stocks

After Wall Street’s wild ride this week, the board overseeing Philadelphia’s $3.7 billion  pension fund is pulling $50 million from the stock market. 

The $50 million amounts to less than two percent of the pension.  It will be turned into cash.  City Controller Alan Butkovitz said the money will be used to try to make back some of the about $120 million the city has lost since the market downturn.

“Forty percent of our money is in bonds so we’ve only experienced half the loses that the stock market as a whole has experienced in the last week,” said Butkovitz. “So we’ve already had an approach that minimizes risk and now we are adding on top of that another step to cut risk further because the whole world is going crazy.”

Pension Board Trustee Carol Stukes opposes the move.

“We are in it for the long term you can’t do it on a day to day basis,” said Stukes.  “We can’t operate this on a day to day basis as much as we would like to. We can’t jump in and out of the market on a day to day basis like you and I would do in our personal portfolio and like we do in our own personal portfolio.”

Philadelphia’s pension board staff will evaluate opportunities for making money in the market.  Board members will decide next Wednesday if they will invest any or all of the $50 million or just keep it as cash.  The pension fund is large enough to meet only 47 percent of its long-term obligations.

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