Other Group

New York State Common Retirement Fund

Location:

Albany, NY

Type:

Public Employee Retirement System

The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the state-run pension fund for New York state public employees. It is valued at $210.5 billion in assets as of March 31, 2019, making it the third largest public pension fund in the United States. The fund is controlled by the New York State Comptroller, an elected position currently held by Democrat Thomas DiNapoli. The office engages in shareholder activism.

Background

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, valued at $210.5 billion in assets as of March 31, 2019, is the nation’s third-largest government worker pension fund. It is for employees and retirees of the state of New York. The money is held in a trust for retirement of more than 1 million members of the New York State and Local Retirement Systems, also known as NYSLRS. [1]

The fund states that is has an average 5.23 percent one year return. It paid out an average of $12.74 billion in retirement benefits in the fiscal year 2019. The fund further states that 75 percent of paid benefits come from investment earnings. [2]

Responsible Official

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) oversees the fund. DiNapoli was re-elected to his job in 2018. [3]

The New York State Legislature first appointed DiNapoli in 2007 to serve out the remaining term of Comptroller Alan Hevesi (D), who resigned over corruption charges. Then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) questioned the appointment, and claimed DiNapoli was unqualified for the job. DiNapoli was elected to the post in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 and 2018. [4]

Administration

Anastasia Titarchuk is the Chief Investment Officer. Navyug Patel is the Interim Deputy Chief Investment Officer. [5] Titarchuk announced in November 2019 that the New York pension officials would likely shift money away from equities and into bonds. [6]

Bob Arnold oversees global equities. Manny Casanga oversees real estate. Jonathan Lieber oversees fixed income. Brian Hughes oversees private equity investments. Frank McEvoy runs the in-state private equity investment program. Anyori Hernandez runs the emerging manager program.

Investment Advocacy

In an August 2019 letter to McDonald’s Corp., DiNapoli expressed concerns about the “potential financial and reputational risks associated with McDonald’s chicken welfare practices.” The letter notes that McDonald’s has not adopted the animal-liberationist-backed standards of competitors such as Subway and Burger King. The letter continued, “Although these standards are important from an animal welfare perspective, they also make business sense.” He further asked the nation’s largest fast food chain for a “response detailing what the company is doing to build on its recent chicken welfare policy.” [7]

In 2017, the fund teamed with the Church of England and sponsored a large-scale shareholder resolution to force ExxonMobil to disclose to shareholders the risks climate change poses to the fossil fuels business. The resolution won majority support. But, DiNapoli said: “We’re not satisfied with what Exxon has done in response to our resolution — and, unfortunately, the fund companies haven’t followed up and supported us — but we’re sticking with it. And we hope the fund companies will be joining with us more frequently.” [8]

References

  1. New York State Common Retirement Fund. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension/ ^
  2. New York State Common Retirement Fund. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension/ ^
  3. Braun, Martin. “Man Behind New York’s $209 Billion Fund Running to Keep His Job.” Bloomberg News. October 26, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-26/man-behind-new-york-s-209-billion-fund-running-to-keep-his-job ^
  4. Arnold, Chad. “NY Comptroller’s Race Becomes

    Spirited Battle.” Democrat & Chronicle. October 30, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/10/30/ny-comptrollers-race-becomes-spirited-battle/1805950002/ ^

  5. NYS Common Retirement Fund Contacts. Accessed December 12. 2019. https://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension/crf-team.htm ^
  6. Kerber, Ross and Delevingne, Lawrence. “Eying Liquidity, New York Pension Fund Looks to Trim Equities.” Reuters. November 4, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-investment-summit-new-york-pension/eying-liquidity-new-york-pension-fund-looks-to-trim-equities-idUSKBN1XE2A6 ^
  7. Bloomberg. “McDonald’s Warned by New York Pension Fund Over Chicken Welfare.” Pensions & Investments. September 21, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.pionline.com/article/20180921/ONLINE/180929962/mcdonald-s-warned-by-new-york-pension-fund-over-chicken-welfare ^
  8. Sommers, Jeff. “Want a Bigger Say on Corporate Behavior? Move Your Money.” The New York Times. December 12, 2019. Accessed December 12, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/12/business/corporate-behavior-move-your-money.html ^
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New York State Common Retirement Fund


Albany, NY