Investments held by Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System rose to $6.1 billion in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of $282 million.

The report to system trustees last week said the investments posted a return of 5.6% in the quarter and a 19.9% return over the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Unfunded liabilities were set at $2.5 billion as of June 30. Trustees ratified their August decision to increase the contribution rate to 14.88% of employee payroll on July 1 from the current 14.24. The contribution rate has gone up each year for the past four years.

The increased rate is expected to bring in $270 million in fiscal 2014. Total contributions from local governments and the state are expected to total $250 million in fiscal 2013.

Value of the investments fell to $4.3 billion in fiscal 2009, a drop of $1.3 billion. Trustees adopted an 11% contribution rate in fiscal 2010.

The 46,000 government employees in the system earn an average annual salary of $34,962 and the 275,000 retires receive an average of $12,565.  Total benefits are $346 million a year.

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