The New York City Comptroller's Office hired Greenhill Cogent as a private equity adviser for the New York City Retirement Systems and the comptroller's bureau of asset management, which makes investment recommendations for the $163.4 billion pension system.
“New York City is looking to use the secondary market as a portfolio management tool,” Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for Comptroller Scott Stringer, said in an interview. “We will be opportunistic about the buying and selling of private equity limited partnership interests.”
Mr. Stringer is the fiduciary for the five pension funds that make up the retirement system, which had an aggregate of $9.8 billion in private equity investments as of March 31. The pension system has investments and commitments with 116 private equity managers, Mr. Sumberg said.
New York City Retirement Systems issued an RFP in January, seeking broker-dealers to help sell some of its private equity portfolio.
The search was initiated to “take advantage of current favorable market conditions,” the RFP said. The broker-dealer “will serve in a fiduciary capacity” to the comptroller and the pension system, it said.
The RFP said the contract would be for two years with the option for renewals of up to four years. Mr. Sumberg declined to comment on the terms of the contract and declined to provide additional details on Greenhill Cogent's responsibilities.
In April, Mr. Stringer said he wanted to restructure the city's pension system, citing high fees and disappointing performance as causing an estimated $2.5 billion in lost value for the 10 years ended Dec. 31, 2014.
The biggest detractors of value, which were defined as asset classes performing below their benchmarks during this 10-year period — were private equity ($1.73 billion in lost value) and private real estate ($934 million in lost value), according to an April report issued by Mr. Stringer.