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New York City police unions that hold partial control over how their members’ pension money is invested are planning to pull out of a consortium of other city pension funds that Comptroller Scott Stringer has credited with considerably augmenting their return on investment.
In 2015, Stringer launched what’s come to be known as the Common Investment Meeting, where the trustees of the city’s five largest union pension funds meet to hash out how their money is managed.
Before that, each of the funds’ trustees would meet separately in five different monthly meetings, which, from Stringer’s perspective, was far less efficient.
According to Stringer, the CIM has boosted the pension funds’ growth overall, with their rate of return hitting 11.58% over the five years since the CIM was created, compared to a 7.02% rate of return for the five years prior to its creation.
The police pension funds’ trustees are made up of several police unions. The most powerful among them is the Police Benevolent Association.
The PBA’s head, Patrick Lynch, pointed out that the CIM began as a pilot program and disputed the idea that, over the past five years, it’s made life easier for the funds’ trustees.
“We were invited to participate in the common-investment meeting on a trial basis. Based on that trial, we have determined that the current format is not the most efficient or effective way to address our members’ needs,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to work with both the current comptroller and the next one to provide the best possible stewardship of our members’ funds.”
With Stringer set to end his term as comptroller in December, it is not entirely clear who his successor will be, but odds are on the Democratic candidate, City Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), who’s been an outspoken critic of the NYPD for years.
When asked through a PBA spokesman to comment on whether the prospect of Lander becoming comptroller played into the police union’s decision, Lynch said the actions are based on the CIM itself. Lander declined to comment.
Stringer suggested that Lynch should reconsider.
“The men and women of the NYPD and their families deserve a secure retirement. It defies all logic and reason that certain police trustees want to pull out of a system that has made money for their members,” Stringer said in a statement.
“There is no disputing the facts — the reforms we’ve made have dramatically raised the transparency, professionalism and most importantly the performance of our pension system. I believe once Mr. Lynch and others do the math they will realize this is not a decision that is in the best interest of their members.”