US - The trustees of the New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS) have unanimously agreed to immediately suspend the use of placement agents, firms and middlemen in investments with the NYC Pension Funds, NYC comptroller William Thompson has said.
Thompson said: "The trustees recognise that this is the wisest course of action at this time, given the type of egregious conduct detailed in the recent indictment and felony complaint by the New York attorney general and complaints filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning the New York State Common Retirement Fund."
Last week, Thompson asked the New York State Attorney General to look into whether the city retirement systems were "intentionally misled or deceived" as to the identities of any placement agents involved in an investment by the city systems in the Quadrangle Group. Thompson's request was prompted by media reports indicating that Hank Morris and Searle & Company had received a placement fee.
Thompson and his office plan to ask the other four New York City Pension Funds to approve a similar suspension in the coming weeks.
Trustees of the Pension Funds include NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, his commissioners, and representatives and appointees from labor unions. The funds are the: New York City Employees' Retirement System, Teachers' Retirement System, New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and Board of Education Retirement System.
Yesterday, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) said it planned to ask for more transparency from managers on the use of placement agents (www.globalpensions.com: 28/04/09).
Thompson's office said other large pension funds across the country were considering the ban of placement agents.
Potential changes to accounting standards and increased pressure on companies to accelerate contributions could worsen FTSE 100 scheme funding by up to £100bn, according to Lane Clark and Peacock (LCP).
Smart Pension has taken on over 20,000 active members from the £20m Corpad Master Trust, following a strategic review by the ceding firm's trustees.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) allegedly obstructed a whistleblower as she tried to discover the true value of the deficit in its defined benefit (DB) section, according to reports.
The Cost Transparency Initiative (CTI) has launched a number of templates and guidance to help pension schemes deliver greater value for savers with enhanced disclosure of transaction cost information.