A spokesperson for the Comptroller's Office clarified that New York City Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System filed proposals at J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and the New York City Employees' Retirement System and Teachers' Retirement System filed at four additional banks: Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada. The three aforementioned New York City pension funds hold shares in these banks valued at about $1.1 billion in total.
The spokesperson added that the Police Fund petitioned all six banks.
Energy-supply finance ratios, the Comptroller's Office said in the release, are an "essential metric" for fully measuring a bank's equity and debt financing of both companies and projects.
Citing analysis by research organization Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the Comptroller's Office said that overall energy sector investment needs to reach a minimum ratio of 4:1 by 2030. However, in 2022, North American banks fell well below this target with an average ratio of 0.6:1. Moreover, those ratios were slightly worse than 2021, suggesting that despite their rhetoric, these banks are making little progress on climate finance transition. Moreover, the energy-supply finance ratios at North American banks are generally far behind their European peers.
The Comptroller's Office also noted it is currently in dialogue with each of the banks, in an effort to compel them to agree to adopt and transparently report on their energy supply financing ratios rather than forcing votes on shareholder resolutions, the release noted.
The proposals also recommend that each bank establish time-bound energy-supply financing ratio targets aligned with its net-zero commitment and also set standardized industry-wide methodologies.
"North American banks appear to believe that they can just scale up financing of clean energy, without phasing out fossil fuel finance," Lander stated in the release. "But press releases about great new projects won't protect our portfolios or our planet if overall emissions keep rising."
The four pension funds filing these proposals — New York City Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System and Board of Education Retirement System and New York City Police — had assets of $80.5 billion, $96.5 billion, $8.6 billion and $49.9 billion, respectively, as of Nov. 30.
New York City's five retirement systems — which also comprise pension funds representing police and fire departments — had combined assets of about $254.4 billion. Lander is the fiduciary for the five funds.
A spokesperson for the Comptroller's Office confirmed that the fire pension fund is not involved in these proposals.