Trustees of the New York City Employees' Retirement System, one of five pension funds within the $163.1 billion New York City Retirement Systems, voted unanimously Sept. 8 to study divesting its stock holdings in companies that run private prisons.
“As trustees, we have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that we are acting in the best interests of our members while investing in ways that are consistent with our values as New Yorkers,” city Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, a trustee of NYCERS, said in a news release. Mr. Stringer is the fiduciary of all five city pension funds.
“We believe the time has come to study whether our holdings in private prisons meet both our fiduciary standard as well as our standard to invest responsibly,” he added.
NYCERS had $53.3 billion in assets as of May 31, and about $6 million invested in the stocks of private prison companies as of the same date, Tyrone Stevens, a spokesman for Mr. Stringer, said in an interview.
Mr. Stringer said he will introduce within a few weeks similar divestment-study resolutions to the three other city pension funds for which he is a trustee — teachers, police department and fire department funds.
Mr. Stringer isn't a trustee of the Board of Education Retirement System, but he said he would ask trustees of that pension fund to consider a divestment study as well. The five pension funds held about $20 million in private-prison company stock as of May 31, Mr. Stevens said.