New York City Pension Hires Risk and Compliance Officers As Part of Ethics Reform


New York City’s pension system has made a series of hires recently as part of an ethics package proposed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer in 2014.

The system has hired an internal auditor, a chief risk officer and a chief compliance officer.

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Miles Draycott, formerly at Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, was appointed chief risk officer, and will be tasked with “developing and institutionalizing formal risk management,” the comptroller’s office said.

In addition, Draycott will be responsible for creating and implementing systems to “assess and monitor financial and enterprise risk.”

The pension system hired Shachi Bhatt, the associate director of compliance and risk management at Convergent Wealth Advisors, as chief compliance officer. She will be responsible for implementing systems to “assess and monitor regulatory compliance” within the pension funds as well as external managers, parent companies, and joint venture partners.

Lastly, the comptroller’s office employed Khanim Babaveva, formerly at Grameen America and FINCA International, as an internal auditor.

“One of the lessons of the financial crisis was that risk and compliance functions must have a clear line to the top, which is why these three executives will have direct access to me.” Stringer said.

The system manages $163 billion in pension assets.


Photo by Tim (Timothy) Pearce via Flickr CC License

Cuomo Rejects Bill To Increase Alternative Investments By Pensions


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday vetoed a bill that aimed to raise the percentage of assets New York City and state pension funds could allocate towards hedge funds and private equity.

From Bloomberg:

Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have allowed New York state, city and teachers pension funds to allocate a larger percentage of their investments to hedge funds, private equity and international bonds.

The measure approved by lawmakers in June would have increased the cap on such investments to 30 percent from 25 percent for New York City’s five retirement plans, the fund for state and local workers outside the city, and the teachers pension. The funds have combined assets valued at $445 billion.

“The existing statutory limits on the investment of public pension funds are carefully designed to achieve the appropriate balance between promoting growth and limiting risk,” Cuomo said in a message attached to the veto. “This bill would undermine that balance by potentially exposing hard-earned pension savings to the increased risk and higher fees frequently associated with the class of investment assets permissible under this bill.”


A memo attached to the New York bill said raising the allotment for hedge funds and other investments is necessary for flexibility to meet targeted annual returns. A swing in the value of the funds’ publicly traded stocks can push the pensions “dangerously close” to the investment cap, the memo said. The change would also better enable the funds’ advisers and trustees to “tactically manage the investments to take advantage of market trends, react to market shocks and potentially costly rebalances or unwinds at inopportune times,” it said.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer supported the bill.


Photo by Tim (Timothy) Pearce via Flickr CC License