US - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has hired the city's first chief investment advisor tasked with helping to reign in spiralling pension costs.
Ranji Nagaswami will serve as an advisor to the Mayor's trustees of the five New York City pension funds and the New York City Deferred Compensation Plan Board. Combined, the schemes have more than $100bn in assets under management.
Bloomberg said: "The cost to City taxpayers of the pension systems is growing at an astronomical rate, from $1.1bn in 2001 to an expected $7.6bn this year, which is more than 10% of the entire City budget. We will continue to pursue the reforms desperately needed in Albany to reduce the unmanageable costs of pension benefits, while at the same time working to ensure we are getting best possible returns on pension fund investments and looking at every option."
Nagaswami will research investment issues, provide manager reviews, make recommendations about investment strategies and work with relevant government offices, among other tasks.
Deputy Mayor for economic development Robert Steel added: "As pension costs continue to swallow a disproportionally large amount of the City's budget, Ranji will lead our efforts to try to increase investment returns and think about new ways to manage the funds' portfolios."
She was most recently at AllianceBernstein where she was chief investment officer of the firm's multi-asset and blend equity portfolios. She also serves on Yale University's Investment Committee.
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