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The Financial Contribution of Oil and Natural Gas Company Investments To Major Public Employee Pension Plans in Michigan

The Financial Contribution of Oil and Natural Gas Company Investments To Major Public Employee Pension Plans in Michigan

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Published by Energy Tomorrow
This report examines the financial impact of investments in oil and natural gas companies on the overall performance of the two largest public employee pension funds in Michigan. The data show these investments sharply out-performed the funds’ other assets. From 2005 to 2009, spanning both vigorous expansion and deep recession, the share of the funds’ returns attributable to oil and natural gas investments in Michigan was 2.5 times greater than their share of those funds’ assets.
This report examines the financial impact of investments in oil and natural gas companies on the overall performance of the two largest public employee pension funds in Michigan. The data show these investments sharply out-performed the funds’ other assets. From 2005 to 2009, spanning both vigorous expansion and deep recession, the share of the funds’ returns attributable to oil and natural gas investments in Michigan was 2.5 times greater than their share of those funds’ assets.

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Categories:Business/Law, Finance
Published by: Energy Tomorrow on Apr 25, 2011
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11/09/2012

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1
The Financial Contribution of Oil and Natural Gas Company InvestmentsTo Major Public Employee Pension Plans in Four States, 2005
 – 
2009:Michigan
1
 
Robert J. Shapiro and Nam D. Pham
This report examines the financial impact of investments in oil and natural gas companies on theoverall performance of the two largest public employee pension funds in each of four states
 – 
Michigan,Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
2
The data show these investments sharply out-
 performed the funds’
other assets. From 2005 to 2009, spanning both vigorous expansion and deep recession, the share of the
funds’ returns attributable to
oil and natural gas investments in Michigan was 2.5 times greater than their
share of those funds’ assets.
Total Assets, Oil and Natural Gas Assets, and Returns on Those Assets,Two Largest Pension Funds in Michigan, 2005
 – 
2009
3
 
StateTotal Assets(billions)Oil andNatural GasAssets(billions)Oil and NaturalGas Assets As aShare of TotalAssetsReturns from Oiland Gas Assetsas a Share of AllReturnsRatio of Oil andNatural Gas AssetReturns to TheirShare of Total AssetsMI $52.8 $2.5 4.8% 12.2% 2.5 to 1
 
In Michigan, the two largest public pension funds account for more than 75 percent of the totalmembership and 60 percent of all assets of all public employee pension programs in the state.
 
The oil and natural gas investments by Michigan’s two largest public pension plans accounted for 
4.8%
of those funds’ total as
sets while contributing 12.2%
of those funds’ total gains, for a ratio
of 2.5 to 1.
Michigan’s Two Largest Public Employee Retirement Plans:
Rates of Return fromOil and Natural Gas Investments and All Other Investments, 2005-2009
4
 
Return on $1 invested in Oiland Natural Gas StocksReturn on $1 invested inNon-Oil and Natural GasInvestmentsRatio of Oil and Natural GasReturns to Returns on AllOther AssetsMI $1.49 $1.17 2.9 to 1.0
 
The rate of return on oil and natural gas investments in the two largest pension funds in Michiganwas 49%.
 
The average rate of return on all other investments was 17%.
 
Over the period 2005-2009, oil and natural gas investments in the two largest pensions funds inMichigan outperformed the returns of other investments by 2.9 times.
1
 
The authors wish to acknowledge research support from the American Petroleum Institute. The analysis and conclusions are solely those of theauthors.
 
2
 
We use “oil and gas company holdings” synonymously with “energy sector holdings” in this report, as oil and gas co
mpanies comprise 98percent of the value of the S&P Energy Sector Index and the vast majority of energy sector holdings in the public employee pension fundsexamined here. The current S&P 500 Energy Sector Index is comprised of 60 percent integrated oil & gas companies; 18 percent oil & gasexploration and production enterprises; 14 percent oil and gas equipment and services firms; 3 percent oil and gas storage and transportationcompanies; 2 percent oil and gas drilling firms; and 1 percent oil & gas refining & marketing. Coal and consumable fuels account for theremaining 2 percent of the Index.
 
3
 
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of Public Schools Employees Retirement Systems and State Employees Retirement System andauthors
estimates.
 
4
 
 Ibid.
 
 
2
I.
 
Methodology
This interim report estimates the financial impact of oil and gas company stocks to thereturns achieved by the major public pension plans in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio andPennsylvania over the five year period from 2005 to 2009. A subsequent report will examine 13additional states. For each state, we selected the two largest state pension funds, covering publicschool employees and state employees. In Michigan, these two public pension plans account for60 percent of the total assets and 75 percent of the total membership of all of the public pensionplans in the states. The public pension plans within each state generally follow broadly similarinvestment strategies. Therefore, we also apply the energy holdings as a share of the total assets
and annual returns of the two largest pension plans to the aggregate holdings of all of a state’s
public pension assets to estimate the financial contribution of oil and gas company stock pricesto all public pension funds in that state.For each state, we collected five years of investment data from the ComprehensiveAnnual Financial Reports (CAFRs) of the two largest public pension funds, including their totalassets, asset allocations across classes of financial instruments, holdings by sector (includingenergy), and annual returns by financial class and sector. The asset allocations are reported forU.S. equities, international equities, fixed income securities, and other asset classes (cash, short-term instruments, real estate and alternative investments), in dollar amounts and as percentagesof total assets. When a fund did not report its investments in the oil and natural gas sector (fiveof the eight funds in this interim report), we use
the energy sector’s share in the S&P 500 toestimate the pension fund’s holdings of oil and natural gas stocks. For example, energy
companies accounted for 9.3 percent of the value of the S&P 500 index in 2005, 9.8 percent in2006, 12.9 percent in 2007, 13.3 percent in 2008, and 11.5 percent in 2009.
5
We also use each
fund’s reported exposure to the oil and natural gas sector and the S&
P 500 Energy Sector as a
 proxy for oil and gas company holdings and the return of the funds’ oil and gas company
holdings. The data reported by the funds does not include all individual company holdings,making it impossible to isolate oil and gas companies. However, the S&P 500 Energy Sector iscomprised almost entirely of oil and gas companies, with oil and gas companies accounting for98.1 percent of the current S&P Energy Sector.
6
 To estimate the holdings and returns for all public employee pension plans in a state, weuse aggregate data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau on each state, including total assets, assetallocations, memberships, and benefits. Since the Census Bureau does not report oil and naturalgas sector holdings by state, we apply the share of total holdings in oil and natural gas stocks for
the state’s largest pension plan in each year to the state
-
wide level. If a state’s two largest public
pension plans do not report their oil and natural gas sector holdings, we apply the share of oil andnatural gas stocks in the S&P 500 and the returns of the S&P 500 Energy Sector.
5
 
The domestic equity benchmark for public pension fund systems is typically based on a blend of several indexbenchmarks, such as the S&P 500, the Russell 3000, and the Wilshire 5000. Since the returns of financial indicesare highly correlated over time, our results are not biased by our reliance on
the S&P’s index.
 
6
The breakdown of the current S&P Energy Index: 60.3 percent integrated oil & gas companies; 17.75 percent oil &gas exploration and production; 14.11 percent oil and gas equipment and services; 2.66 percent oil and gas storageand transportation; 1.96 percent oil and gas drilling; and 1.29 percent oil & gas refining & marketing, Coal andconsumable fuels account for 1.92 percent of the Index.
 
3
In calculating the contribution of oil and natural gas stocks to each plan’s assets andreturns, we first estimate the plan’s annual capital gains and losses based on
its annual returns
and assets. Next, we estimate the capital gains and losses of the plan’s oil and natural gas sector 
holdings each year based on its oil and natural gas assets and the annual return of the S&P 500Energy Sector Index. Finally, we use t
he fund’s total capital gains and losses each year and the
capital gains and losses of its oil and natural gas sector holdings to estimate the contribution of 
oil and natural gas sector companies to the fund’s overall returns.
 
II.
 
Michigan
The Two Largest Public Pension Plans
The various public employee retirement plans in Michigan publish annual data on theirinvestment portfolios and performance. We collected those data for the fiscal years 2005-2009
for the State’s two largest public employees retirement plans, the Public School Employees’Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). Over this
five-year period, these two plans had assets averaging $52.8 billion and an average of 555,050members, including current retirees, current employees, and former or inactive employees.(Table MI-1, below) These two plans held oil and natural gas-sector investments averaging$2.54 billion or 4.8 percent of their total assets. The two plans represent more than 75 percent of all members and 60 percent of all assets of all Michigan public employee retirement plans.
Table MI-1. Michigan
’s Two Largest
Public Employee Retirement Plans:Members, Total Assets and Oil and Natural Gas Assets, Annual Average, 2005-2009
7
 
Total MembersTotal Assets($ billions)Oil and NaturalGas Assets($ billions)Oil and Natural GasAssets as a Shareof All AssetsTotal 555,050 $52.831 $2.542 4.8%PSERS
470,328 $42.413 $2.041 4.8%
SERS
84,722 $10.408 $0.501 4.8%
The cumulative rate of return on the assets of these two large plans was about 23 percentfor the five years, 2005 to 2009. (Table MI-2, below) By contrast, the S&P 500 Energy Sectorproduced a 49 percent return over the same period. The two plans, therefore, generated totalgains of nearly $15 billion over this period, including $1.8 billion in gains from their investmentsin oil and natural gas stocks. As a result, oil and natural gas investments which represented 4.8
 percent of the two plans’ total assets contributed 12.15 percent of the two plans’ total gains.
7
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of Public Schools Employees Retirement Systems and State Employees
Retirement System and authors’ estimates.
 

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