For decades, a large chunk of the $60 billion fund has been invested in the stock market. Now State Treasurer Richard Moore is asking legislators to allow him to put up to five percent of the fund into venture capital, hedge funds and other instruments.
Moore says a number of other states have sizeable amounts in alternative investments.
"I liken it to looking back 35, 40 years ago when some people thought it was absolutely crazy that pension funds would invest in stocks," Moore says. "Look at what would have happened if we had all our money in bonds over the last 20 years."
The state's pension fund serves one out of every eight working North Carolinians. It is the 10th-largest public pension fund in the country.