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NYC's pension operations need to be brought into 21st century: comptroller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The management and operations of New York City’s public pension funds need to be brought “into the 21st century”, the city’s Comptroller said on Tuesday after releasing a report he commissioned on the bureau which runs the funds.

The report on the Bureau of Asset Management, which oversees the investments of $160 billion of New York City pension funds, concluded that the unit’s “current investment strategy presents a very high level of operational risk” and “an operational failure is increasingly likely”.

The report highlighted a number of flaws in the system, according to a summary by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

These included the unit’s organizational structure being too dependent on senior management, which created bottlenecks in decision making.

The unit should standardize its practices and develop a regular, formal risk and compliance reporting regimen, Stringer’s summary said. Officials such as deputy chief investment officers and a senior executive should be appointed, the summary said.

“For too long, too little attention has been paid to our investment operations and there was a sense that nothing could be done to cut through an intractable bureaucracy,” Stringer said in a news release.

“To continue to fulfill our fiduciary duties, we must re-engineer every process and procedure and bring our investment operations into the 21st century.”

For the report, by pension consultants Funston Advisory Services, please click on: here

The contents of the report were earlier reported by the New York Times.

Reporting by Megan Davies; Editing by Jonathan Oatis