MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Sagging financial markets are hurting Alabama’s Employees Retirement System, but officials say the pension fund remains sound. Leaders of the fund got an update on the employees’ retirement system during a recent meeting in Montgomery.

Through April, its rate of return on investments was -5% for this fiscal year. Retirement chief David Bronner says he can’t remember a time when the global economy faced so many challenges. But Bronner says participants in the employees’ system shouldn’t be concerned because they have a defined benefit plan, which means it’s not dependent on investment earnings.

The system served more than 139,000 members last year.