That’s not easy when the safe investments that pension funds usually rely on are paying less than 1 percent, a consequence of low interest rates.
CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension plan, fell short of its goal in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Now, along with embracing riskier investments like private equity, Bienvenue is gambling on making low rates work for him, by borrowing billions of dollars in hopes of juicing the pension plan’s returns.
“We have to take more risk in some places,” he said. “…Systemically low interest rates, the net effect makes the challenge more difficult.”
CalPERS’ shift is just one example of how an era of persistently low interest rates has rippled across the economy, altering incentives while benefiting some groups and hurting others.
Consumers have snapped up 0% percent auto loans and mortgages at sub-3 percent rates. That’s helped the economy by driving sales