The overall investment return for New York's common retirement fund over 12 months reached a record 33.5%, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Wednesday said. 

The return, recorded over the state's fiscal year from April 1 and ending March 31, came as the financial markets swooned and rebounded during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The pension fund is valued at $254.8 billion. During that time, the fund paid out $13.6 billion in retirement and death benefits. 

“The state pension fund rode the market rebound from the depths of the pandemic and enjoyed the largest one-year investment return in its history,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “This outsized return reinforces the Fund’s position as one of the strongest in the nation, but it comes with a caution. Markets remain volatile and as unpredictable as ever. With our talented investment staff, I will continue to manage our state’s pension fund with prudence and a focus on stable, long-term results that ensure continued retirement security for our members for generations to come.”

The fund by the end of March had invested 52.82% of its assets in publicly traded equities. The rest is in cash, bonds and mortgages. The long-term expected rate of return is 6.8%, DiNapoli said.