Review shows New York pension fund addressed ethical concerns

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February 19, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - An outside review of New York's $150 billion pension fund for public workers shows it fixed ethical problems that led to a "pay-for-play" scandal.

The three-year review by Michigan-based Funston Advisory Services says the Common Retirement Fund's 2009 decision to ban paid placement agents used by other pension funds does not appear to have kept it from accessing qualified outside investment managers.

Funston says state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the fund's sole trustee since the 2007 scandal, is meeting all applicable ethical and conflict-of-interest standards and is acting solely for the benefit of its 1 million workers and beneficiaries.

However, the review notes the fund is thinly staffed for its size and complexity, depending more on external consultants, and needs better computer infrastructure.

Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi was paroled in December after 20 months in prison for a felony conviction of official misconduct. An attorney general's investigation showed that pension fund officials and cronies, including Hevesi political adviser Henry "Hank" Morris, got fees and favors from financiers seeking chunks of the fund to manage.

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