NYC Comptroller: “We’re Worried About Coal” In Pension Portfolio

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New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer – who serves as custodian and investment advisor to the boards of the city’s pension funds – said on Thursday that he is “worried about coal” in the pension funds’ investment portfolios.

But Stringer maintained that engagement was the best way to enact change while maintaining his fiduciary duty to retirees.

From Yahoo Finance:

“My job first and foremost is to be a fiduciary. So I look at these issues in terms of creating long term value to the 700,000 retirees I protect, managing this pension fund,” [Stringer] says. “Our public pension fund is concerned about our investment in many of these companies because obviously we believe the future is in clean energy. We’re worried about coal… one it’s killing people but also it could be a dying industry so we want to have discussion about this as well.”

One of the ways Stringer is dealing with such issues is a program he calls “boardroom accountability.” He is working with the aforementioned CalPERS and other big pension funds to demand “the right to run directors at major companies.”

Given the size of their investments these funds and the people that run them want to ensure the companies aren’t overpaying CEOs, lacking diversity in the C-Suite, or ruining the environment.

And while Stringer and others are trying to be responsible when it comes to investing and divesting he’s careful to point out “we do have a fiduciary responsibility to grow our pension fund and the long term value of the fund, so not everything is dealt with through the lens of the pension fund… I’m a citywide elected official representing 8.4 million people and part of my job as comptroller, in addition to the pension fund is doing audits and investigations – thinking about the longterm future of the New York City economy.”

New York City’s pension funds manage approximately $150 billion in assets.

 

Photo by Tim (Timothy) Pearce via Flickr CC License

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