US - New York City comptroller John Liu has announced plans to provide the public with unparalleled access to information about the $113bn New York City pension funds.
In an effort to improve transparency, "Pension NYC" will offer a set of five online tools including webcasts of board meetings, an online library of meeting minutes and agendas, an interactive FAQ section and real time disclosure of fund expenditure and investments.
The new tools will be rolled out over the course of this year and next and will sit alongside the "My Money NYC" suite of programmes previously launched by Liu to allow the public to closely track how the City spends tax dollars.
"Taxpayers and pensioners deserve to know how the money is being invested and spent, and this project so empowers the public," Liu said. "We have always aspired to run the best performing funds - it's time we broaden our aspirations to also run the most transparent funds. In fact, greater transparency ultimately will lead to stronger performance."
"I share the commitment of all our pension trustees to strengthen the performance of our funds. We will work collectively to empower each pension member and the public to gain direct access to information about their hard-earned money. Holding those managing our money accountable will help ensure the retirement security of firefighters, police officers, teachers and other city workers, while also ensuring the fiscal health of the City."
The New York City Pension Funds include: the New York City Employees' Retirement System; the Teachers' Retirement System; the New York City Police Pension Fund; the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund; and the Board of Education Retirement System.
Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union added: "Webcasting, the Online Library, and Interactive FAQ will together make the public more aware and knowledgeable about the unknowable decision-making of pension boards that have a critical impact on the city budget and the retirees they serve.
"The Real-time Investment Portfolio and integration of the pension boards' expenditures with Checkbook NYC will provide an unprecedented but welcomed level of disclosure enabling the public to see which stocks the pension funds have shares in, and which financial companies manage pension funds. This degree of transparency will bring added scrutiny that may result in recommendations that lead to increased yields and reduced costs."
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