Scott Stringer vowed during his successful campaign for New York comptroller to reduce the $370 million in fees the city’s five pension funds pay money managers and consultants annually. His job, which starts Jan. 1, just got harder.
The charges climbed to $472.5 million in the year ended June 30, enough to pay the salaries of 6,440 teachers, a city report shows. The 28 percent gain is more than double the return on the $137.4 billion retirement system’s assets in the same period. In the past seven years, investment expenses for the pensions, which are overseen by the comptroller’s office, surged by $280 million.
“I’m going to take a hard look at all of our fees,” Stringer, a 53-year-old Democrat, said in a statement. “We need to limit costs, ensure payments are commensurate with performance and leverage our size and relationships with other pension funds to negotiate lower fees.”
The growing cost underscores the challenge Stringer and municipal officials across the U.S. face in reducing pension- management fees and boosting returns as the gap between promises to retirees and the assets they have to pay for them has widened to $1 trillion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New York’s funding deficit alone totals $72 billion.
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