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Pension Funds

New York City Retirement adds $150 million to investment in affordable housing

New York City Retirement Systems is adding $150 million to a program of investing in affordable housing, bringing the total investment amount to $450 million, said Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller and fiduciary of the five pension funds in the retirement system, in an announcement Wednesday.

"We have to work together to make New York City more affordable, and we're taking action in innovative ways through the pensions funds," Mr. Stringer said at a news conference.

Each of the pension funds in the $181.3 billion retirement system is participating in the housing investment program, said Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Mr. Stringer, in an email.

The pension fund money is being invested through a separately managed account with RBC Global Asset Management's Access Capital Community Investment Fund, "which invests in non-predatory agency-backed mortgages from both private and government affordable housing programs," said a news release from Mr. Stringer's office.

Since 2007, the retirement system has invested in this RBC separate account via a series of periodically renewed contracts. The most recent contract expired earlier this year, and Mr. Stringer has extended the contract, renewing the $300 million previously committed while adding the $150 million. The initial agreement is for three years, with an option for a pair of three-year extensions.

According to the news release, the original $300 million invested with RBC has grown to $567 million, resulting in 1,887 single-family homes and in multifamily buildings representing 33,390 affordable housing units.

"The additional $267 million is profits that were made on the original $300 million and reinvested through Access RBC," Mr. Sterne wrote.

Mr. Stringer also announced that of the $450 million at least $5 million each year will be designated for affordable housing for veterans and their families living in New York City.

This money will finance mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs "with the goal of 10% of all capital invested (with RBC) going to these mortgages," the news release said.