New York City's five pension funds will provide greater public access to information, including webcasts of pension board meetings and an online library of pension fund information, in an initiative that will begin July 1, city Comptroller John C. Liu announced Monday.
“Taxpayers and pensioners deserve to know how the money is being invested and spent, and this project so empowers the public,” Mr. Liu said in a news release describing the initiative, called Pension NYC. “Greater transparency ultimately will lead to stronger performance.”
Mr. Liu is investment adviser, custodian and trustee of the five city pension funds, which had combined assets of $113.4 billion as of Dec. 31. The five funds are the New York City Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the Board of Education Retirement System.
“When compared to other large pension funds, the New York City pension funds do not reside among the leaders in transparency,” Michael Loughran, a spokesman for Mr. Liu, said in an e-mail. “The Pension NYC initiative will change that.”
Mr. Loughran confirmed that the meetings of each of the five city pension boards will begin webcasting July 1 and will be archived on the comptroller's website. However, executive board sessions won't be webcast, a news release from the comptroller's office said.
Information about the pension funds — board meetings and agendas, portfolio holdings by money managers, “detailed” quarterly reports and “comprehensive” annual reports — will be available online, the news release said.
The comptroller's office also will provide an interactive “frequently asked questions” about the funds and will allow members of the public to offer comments and suggestions, the news release said. The online information and the FAQ interactive tool will be launched July 1.
By the end of this year, Mr. Liu also hopes to incorporate pension fund expenditure information into Checkbook NYC, an existing program that posts city agency spending online in real time, the news release said. And by the end of 2012, he hopes to provide real-time data on pension fund holdings.