Thompson’s Statement Was A Bunch Of Bull

Nearly two months ago, NYC Comptroller/mayoral candidate William Thompson banned certain New York City pension systems from investing in funds that use placement agents. Soon after, he said the following during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box program:

“A lot of these private equity funds, particularly the smaller ones and the mid-sized ones, don’t have marketing sides, don’t know how to reach out. So in some instances, you could say [using a placement agent] helps. We’re just going to beef up our staffs and work along with our outside consultant to try to create better access.”

That was 45 days ago, but Thompson’s office is still looking awfully vegan. No advertisements for new private markets positions, nor any evidence that they’ve even been budgeted for (the only one posted — for a Director of Private Markets — has been stagnating for more than a year).

Even worse, a source familiar with the situation says that Thompson didn’t have enough flexibility to make such a pledge in the first place, given that New York City is in the midst of a major budget crunch that includes widespread hiring freezes. Maybe I could excuse such an oversight were it made by a Parks Department middle manager, but by the City Comptroller? Pretty sure he’s supposed to know something about municipal finance… Or maybe he meant that he’d “beef up our staffs” in 2010 or 2011. Or 2025.

In short: Thompson lied to defend a lazy policy. Glad I’m not a New York City pensioner.