CalSTRS reports 27.2% net investment return for fiscal year 2020–21
Historic fund performance exceeds 30-year return assumption and sets an all-time record

News release Rebecca Forée

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 26, 2021) — The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) today announced a 27.2% net return on investments for the 2020–21 fiscal year, a record high that far exceeded the investment assumption of 7.0%. Growth was driven by strong performance across all markets, despite the global pandemic. As of June 30, 2021, the total fund value was $308.6 billion—double the value from just 10 years ago.

“We’ve built our portfolio for long-term performance, but this year’s results were nothing short of spectacular.”

Christopher J. Ailman
CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer

“This year’s record-breaking investment performance is a testament to the long-term sustainability of a pension fund managed by a dedicated investment team and a committed Teachers’ Retirement Board,” said Chief Executive Officer Cassandra Lichnock. “The fiscal-year returns exceeded all expectations. They also offer another measure of how we’re delivering on our promise to provide California’s hard-working teachers and their families with a secure retirement.”

CalSTRS is a long-term investor with a goal of achieving an average return of 7.0% over many years to meet pension obligations.

The performance of the fund over 30-year, 20-year, 10-year, 5-year, 3-year and 1-year periods are all above the 7.0% return assumption at 8.6%, 7.6%, 9.7%, 11.8%, 12.2% and 27.2%, respectively.

CalSTRS Investment Fund Performance; Long-term Historical Perspective; Net of Fees as of June 30, 2021

“We’ve built our portfolio for long-term performance, but this year’s results were nothing short of spectacular,” said Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman. “These are record-breaking numbers—the highest returns we’ve seen since the late 1980s. Positive fund performances like this will help ensure we have a strong and reliable funding source for our educators and their beneficiaries for years to come.”

CalSTRS Fiscal Year 2020–21 Returns (Net of Fees)

Asset Class/
% Return
% Return
% Return
Fiscal Year
% Return
Fiscal Year
Custom Benchmark
% Return
Fiscal Year
Over/Under Performance
Public Equity 11.3 15.1 14.8 41.8 41.2 0.6
Private Equity* 13.7 17.5 18.8 51.9 47.8 4.1
Real Estate* 9.6 8.1 7.3 7.4 1.5 5.9
Inflation Sensitive 5.8 8.4 8.2 18.0 14.0 4.0
Risk Mitigating Strategies^ n/a 2.8 7.5 6.3 5.5 0.8
Innovative Strategies 3.8 7.3 5.9 11.7 5.6 6.1
Fixed Income 4.1 3.8 6.0 1.2 0.4 0.8
Total Fund Performance 9.7 11.8 12.2 27.2 24.9 2.3

* Asset valuations and benchmark returns lag by one quarter.
^ New strategies less than 10 years​.

As of June 30, 2021, the CalSTRS Investment portfolio holdings were 49.7% in U.S. and Non-U.S. stocks (Public Equity); 12.3% in Real Estate; 10.4% in Fixed Income; 8.6% in Risk Mitigating Strategies; 12.0% in Private Equity; 3.7% in Inflation Sensitive; 0.5% in Innovative Strategies; and 2.8% in Strategic Overlay and Cash.


Watch CIO Christopher J. Ailman explain this year’s historical numbers.

About CalSTRS

CalSTRS provides a secure retirement to more than 975,000 members whose CalSTRS-covered service is not eligible for Social Security participation. In 2019–20, members retired on average after more than 24 years in the classroom with a monthly benefit of approximately $4,614. Established in 1913, CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world with $308.6 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2021. CalSTRS demonstrates its strong commitment to long-term corporate sustainability principles in its annual Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Report. For more information, visit