It may be interesting to note there is a blemish on an elephant, but it tells very little about the overall health of the animal. It tells even less when you get the nature of the blemish wrong.
Thus, in a Sept. 29, page 54 article that says the New York City Employees' Retirement System may drop some managers, you manage to ignore the elephant - incredible outperformance of NYCERS as a whole - even while getting the number of underperforming managers wrong.
First, as to performance. For the one-year period ended June 30, NYCERS returned 22.37%, or 347 basis points above the Callan public fund median. For the three-year period, the fund returned 19.17%, 302 basis points above the median, and for the five-year period the return was 15.06%, or 192 basis points above. The fund ranked in the top decile for every one of those periods. Ironically, in the very same issue, you note the members of the Council of Institutional Investors have outperformed most other funds. Even against that tough competition, NYCERS has outperformed, ranking second of the 43 public funds ranked for five-year performance.
Second, your facts are wrong. You write, "just 20% of NYCERS active equity managers outperformed." In fact nine of the 18, or 50%, of the active managers outperformed the Russell 3000 or EAFE, the fund's domestic and international benchmarks. Even if you meant only domestic managers, five of the 13, or 38.5% outperformed.
Yes, we had some underperforming managers, particularly given the narrowness of the market rally for the first half of this year. But the fact remains that this is one large, healthy elephant, with outstanding performance.
Deputy comptroller for pensions
City of New York
Office of the Comptroller
Bureau of Asset Management
There was some incorrect information included in the page 23 profile of American Realty Advisors in the Sept. 29 special report on real-estate advisers in Pensions & Investments.
Specifically, our chief investment officers are Stanley L. Iezman and James B. McKenna. (Randy Sowell, misidentified as chief investment officer, is our director of acquisitions.)
Also, our property mix was incorrectly reported, and should have read: "The property mix was 8% hotel/resort, 31% industrial, 11% multifamily housing, 34% office/commercial, 12% retail and 4% land.
Finally, contributions received but not invested were $99 million as of June 30.
Steven B. Warheit
Director of marketing
American Realty Advisors
I knew several of the people mentioned in the Sept. 15 Editorial Page column, "For whom the bell tolls in pensions," and would also include Robert Schoonbeck, who was my mentor at Manufacturers Bank of Detroit.
Bob was head of corporate trust and later moved on to INVESCO. I talked to Bob many times about the changing nature of the business as we moved from defined benefit plans to 401(k) defined contribution plans.
Also, I would mention Cor Crane who I called on at Square D and knew when he worked at Continental Bank.
Both of these men represented the best in the business because of their honesty and integrity.