DiNapoli Calls For More Alts. In N.Y. Pension Fund

Aug 6 2008 | 11:41am ET

The $153.9 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund posted a 2.56% return for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, but it could’ve done better if not for the fund’s constraint on alternative investments.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the fund’s strongest returns came from the private equity (24.84%) and equity real estate (14.75%), adding that its growth is “limited by constraints on how we can respond to market forces.”

“We could have easily maximized our returns closer to 4%,” he said at a news conference. “It’s time to revisit the basket bill and give the fund more investment flexibility.”

Under New York’s legal list system, investments in assets classified as alternative, such as private equity, real estate and absolute return strategies, are limited to 25% of the total portfolio.

DiNapoli said he has not decided what the alternatives cap should be for the plan but noted that “we’re not going to look for the freedom to do whatever we want.”

“I have not finalized what our proposal would be,” he said, adding, he has directed his staff to explore undiscovered or undervalued opportunities.

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