NYCERS considering comprehensive divestment policy

New York City Employees' Retirement System is considering developing a comprehensive policy on divestment for its $42 billion pension fund, according to Scott M. Stringer, president of the Borough of Manhattan and a trustee of NYCERS.

The NYCERS board directed Callan Associates, its general consultant, to research existing policies and best practices related to divestment at other pension funds.

The board expects Callan to report to it as early as the Feb. 26 meeting of its investment committee, which comprises all the trustees.

“Establishing such a policy would help ensure we employ a consistent and rigorous approach to all divestment decisions and that, subject to fiduciary responsibility, such decisions are based solely on financial and economic considerations,” Mr. Stringer wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to other NYCERS trustees.

“NYCERS and many other large public pension funds in the U.S. have been requested to consider several divestment campaigns in recent years and will certainly encounter more in the years to come,” Mr. Stringer wrote.

The Newtown, Conn., school shooting was a catalyst for Mr. Stringer's recommendation.

NYCERS' earlier move to consider divesting firearms manufacturers following the shooting is still being analyzed by the New York City comptroller's office, which oversees investments. Any such move on firearms manufacturers will proceed separately from the development of the comprehensive policy.

No time frame has been established for voting to draft a comprehensive policy.