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New York City Comptroller Revamps Bureau of Asset Management

The comptroller’s office is addressing oversight concerns at New York City Public Pension Funds

  • Sheila Dang

The New York City Comptroller’s Office will revamp its Bureau of Asset Management this year to address a litany of concerns at New York City Public Pension Funds after a commissioned report found widespread operation failures.

Major changes will focus on modernizing the administration and beefing up risk management and oversight, according to a Feb. 15 presentation from the comptroller’s office titled “A Roadmap for Reform.” The office will be adding a fund account manager to provide more oversight, and third party services to support risk reporting and analysis.

The report commissioned last year by the comptroller’s office found the Bureau of Asset Management was “understaffed and under-resourced.” The division was only able to avoid serious failures with support from the comptroller, investment consultants, and “heroic efforts by the staff,” the report stated. Funston Advisory Services, which conducted the review, warned that the $170.5 billion New York City pension system would not have the capacity to implement its recommendations with the existing resources and demands.

By the fourth quarter of this year, the bureau plans to standardize risk reports and strengthen manager due diligence to address compliance concerns, according to the presentation. To bring its operations up to speed, the bureau last year added support for investment operations and hired other key staff.

A representative from the comptroller’s press office didn’t immediately provide comment on the bureau’s progress this year.

Many of the new changes in 2016 were directed at middle office investment operations support, with Lynne Fleischman brought on as the new director. Seven positions in services and two in asset management support were added in the department. These positions will handle invoice tracking and reporting and project management, according to the presentation.