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The Boston Globe

Business

MBTA pension fund posts investment return for 2013

The MBTA pension fund reported a 16.2 percent investment return for 2013, adding $200 million to the $1.6 billion fund.

The investment gain, reported in a February newsletter on the retirement fund’s web site, includes a “total write down” of the fund’s $25 million investment in a Fletcher Asset Management hedge fund that lost all the money in a suspected Ponzi scheme.

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According to the newsletter, the investment “remains the focus of a significant asset recovery effort the fund is pursuing.’’ That reference appears to be the first written acknowledgment of the Fletcher loss by the pension fund, which did not disclose the pending matter in its 2012 annual report.

The pension fund board also posted an update page on the Fletcher matter on its web site. Fletcher is under investigation by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The MBTA’s investment with the New York firm is being investigated by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

The investment was sold to the board in 2007 by the fund’s former executive director, Karl White, who left to work for Fletcher.

The pension fund’s overall 2013 investment gain is preliminary and not yet audited. Officials have been unable to say when their annual report, with final results, will be published.

The 16.2 percent gain came in a year when the stock market surged more than 30 percent. The MBTA pension fund invests in an array of investments, including stocks, bonds, real estate and hedge funds. Its reported return was better than the much larger state pension fund’s 15.2 percent gain for the year.

Beth Healy can be reached at Beth.Healy@globe.com
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