One of the primary responsibilities of the State Treasurer is protecting the pension for the more than 850,000 teachers, firefighters, and public employees of North Carolina.
In addition, a strong pension system contributes to the fiscal health in North Carolina and its AAA bond rating.
95% of North Carolinians retire within the state, allowing pension plan benefits to be reinserted back into the State's economy. Retiree's expenditures from pension benefits support $4.2 billion in total economic output in the state including $3.0 billion in goods and services purchased from businesses in the state (Pensionomics).
Treasurer Cowell oversees more than 70 billion dollars in pension fund investments.
North Carolina's pension fund is the 14th largest in the United States, 9th largest public pension fund in the United States, and 33rd largest globally.
The National Institute for Retirement Systems held North Carolina and five other states up as national models for how to design and operate a pension system (NIRS Report, June 2011).