In 2009, the year before Christie took office, New Jersey spent $125.1 million on financial management fees. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, the state reported spending $398.7 million on such fees. In all, New Jersey’s pension system has spent $939.8 million on financial fees between fiscal year 2010 and 2013. That’s only a little less than the amount Christie cut from state education funding in 2010 -- a cut that played a major role in shrinking the state’s teaching force by 4,500 teachers. That money might also have reduced the amount the state needs to pay into the pension system to keep it solvent.Christie keeps talking about how New Jersey just can't afford to pay retired police, teachers, firefighters, and librarians the pensions they earned, but apparently the state has plenty of money for financial managers and hedge funds, even though they're not delivering even average results.
Higher management fees are supposed to buy--and therefore be offset by--better investment performance for pension funds, but New Jersey’s pension investment performance has fallen far behind other states'. [...]
Had New Jersey’s pension system simply matched the median rate of return, the state would have reaped roughly $3.8 billion more than it did between fiscal years 2011 and 2014, says pension consultant Chris Tobe.
New Jersey isn't getting what it pays for, and its retired public workers might end up getting much less than what they earned as a result. But that surely matters less to Chris Christie than reaping the personal gratitude—and campaign contributions—of Wall Street.