(New York, NY) — Today, Comptroller Stringer announced that Scott C. Evans, the chief investment officer of the New York City Pension Funds for the last four years, has asked to step down from his role with the $194 billion systems at the end of this fiscal year, on June 29, 2018. The NYC Retirement System, composed of five funds, constitutes the fourth largest public pension fund in the nation. With this announcement, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer named Alex Doñé – who currently serves as Deputy Chief Investment Officer for Private Markets for the Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) – to serve as Interim Chief Investment Officer and launched a formal search for Evans’ successor.

“I want to thank Comptroller Stringer for giving me this opportunity to serve my city, and for his unwavering support for sound decision-making on behalf of our hard-working pension beneficiaries,” Evans said. “I am confident that Alex will work, in partnership with the Comptroller and Pension Fund trustees, to continue the process of strengthening and improving the City’s pensions. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked for the 700,000 active and retired teachers, police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, administrative professionals and other dedicated civil servants who serve New York City residents every day, and I am proud of the strong foundation we have built at BAM.”

Of Evans’ stewardship, Comptroller Stringer said, “Working together with trustees, we have modernized the operations of the funds and implemented a host of new reforms to better serve our members – today and for generations to come. Scott Evans is a consummate professional whose pension advice is sought after around the globe, and I know I speak on behalf of all our trustees when I thank him and the rest of BAM staff for their superb management of the funds these last four years.”

During Evans’ tenure, the City’s pension fund system and the Bureau of Asset Management (BAM) met its return goals while instituting some of the most significant reforms the system has seen in a generation. Under the leadership of Comptroller Stringer and the entire staff of BAM, the office has:

  • Produced an annual portfolio return of 7.4% that exceeded both the 7.0% actuarial assumed rate of return and the 6.4% return that would have been earned for a comparable index fund during the same period.
  • Conducted a top-to-bottom review of the bureau’s management and operations that led to a fundamental re-engineering of many important processes and procedures that, with input from trustees and Funston Advisory Services, brought investment operations and manager oversight into the 21st century. New structures built since this review include a formal internal investment committee with participatory voting, an asset class rebalancing team that operates with current portfolio information, explicit project management protocols and performance indicators, enhanced tracking of portfolio movements, modernization of operations support routines, and a mitigation of control risks associated with cash movements.
  • Restructured the Bureau’s leadership and oversight functions, creating Deputy CIO positions for both public and private securities to boost the sophistication of manager selection activities, and instituted, for the first time in NYC history, Chief Compliance and Chief Risk Officer positions to ensure robust controls are in place at all times.
  • Adopted sweeping ethics reforms, which included the banning of all placement agents across the five funds and instituting strict controls over personal trading among BAM employees and other executives.
  • Increased the pension systems’ assets invested with minority and women-owned investment managers by 30 percent since 2014;
  • Championed diversity by being first in the nation to ask prospective fund managers about the diversity, including race and gender, of their employees.
  • Helped to launch the Boardroom Accountability Project, a groundbreaking campaign to give shareowners the right to nominate directors at U.S. companies using the corporate ballot, known as “proxy access.” To ensure that companies are truly managed for the long-term, boards must be composed of diverse, independent and accountable directors. The ability to nominate directors is a fundamental shareowner right and the starting point for this transformation. In 2014 when we started, just 6 companies had this policy – today, in part due to our efforts, more than 500 companies do, including over 65% of the S&P 500.
  • Instituted a Common Investment Meeting with the participation of trustees from all five pension boards, reducing the number of investment committee meetings from 54 a year to one meeting each month. This change was critical to freeing up BAM staff to modernize and refine their portfolio management, manager selection, and pension operations processes.
  • Insisted on a higher level of transparency with regard to pension investments, including streamlined reporting that requires all manager fees to be deducted from published total fund return figures, and requiring all managers of private market securities to fill out comprehensive fee disclosures each reporting period. This information will greatly improve the public’s ability to judge whether they are getting value for the money that is spent on external money managers.

Comptroller Stringer also announced that his office will undertake a national search to replace Evans, a process he expects to conclude by the end of the year. In the meantime, BAM will be led by Alex Doñé, who currently serves as Deputy Chief Investment Officer – Private Markets, Bureau of Asset Management. Doñé will work with Michael Haddad, who serves as the Deputy Chief Investment Officer – Public and Tradable Markets, in managing BAM through the search process.

Said Doñé, “I look forward to building upon the strong foundation that Scott Evans and the trustees have worked tirelessly to build under Comptroller Stringer’s leadership, and in partnership with Michael Haddad, to continuing to serve the men and women who make New York City the greatest city in the world.”