New York City Retirement Systems would have one board to oversee the investments of the $119.6 billion in assets in the city's five pension funds under an agreement in principal announced Thursday.
The proposal was announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, city employee union leaders and city Comptroller John C. Liu. Mr. Liu is investment adviser, custodian and trustee to the five city pension funds.
The proposal is in part the result of research that showed similar governance reforms brought about a 1% to 2% increase in revenue, Matthew Sweeney, spokesman for Mr. Liu, wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.
“(Mr. Liu) believes that the current system is unnecessarily complicated and that a streamlined structure would not only safeguard the $119 billion in investments but save money for taxpayers.”
Under the agreement, a single board comprising city and labor representatives would oversee the investments of the New York City Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System, Police Pension Fund, Fire Department Pension Fund and Board of Education Retirement System. Each plan currently operates with its own independent investment board.
The proposal also would establish a Bureau of Asset Management, an independent investment entity outside of the city comptroller's office but still part of city government. A chief investment officer appointed to a fixed term would lead the Bureau of Asset Management and report to the new board.
The changes are intended to “insulate management of pension assets from any political office, further professionalize it and make it more consistent with industry best practices,” according to a city news release.
The proposal would also aim to increase investment returns and lower the city's pension costs, the release said.
The assets of the five pension funds would remain separate, and each plan would continue to administer benefits independently.
The proposal is on the city's website at www.comptroller.nyc.gov/pirnyc.