Bloomberg Appoints NYC’s First Chief Investment Adviser

August 2, 2010 ( - Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appointing the city's first chief investment adviser.

Ranji H. Nagaswami, an Indian American with more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, will assume the $175,000 job, working as an adviser to the mayor’s appointees on the city’s five pension boards, the Wall Street Journal reports. She will work in the city’s finance department and will have an undetermined number of staff members. Her job will not include making investment decisions.

According to the news report, Nagaswami will also become chairwoman of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), replacing Bud Larson, the associate director of the Office of Management and Budget.  

Nagaswami was born in India and came to the U.S. in 1984 to attend business school at Yale University. She most recently worked at AllianceBernstein, where she was chief investment officer, overseeing $100 billion in assets and management.   

The Journal said although the decision to create a new job in a domain overseen by City Comptroller John C. Liu was an unusual and unprecedented move, it was characterized by both sides as collaborative.   

Mark LaVorgna, a spokesman for Bloomberg, said the creation of the new job was not a sign that the administration lacked confidence in Liu’s oversight of the pension system or his appointment in January of Lawrence M. Schloss as chief investment officer. “We’re adding a renowned and experienced professional to see if there’s a way to approach investments in a different and better way to increase returns and reduce costs to taxpayers,” LaVorgna said, according to the Journal. “We have a lot of confidence in Lawrence Schloss. He’s an experienced professional and we are now bringing in Ranji to add another experienced professional to a very important issue.”  

In a radio address last week, Bloomberg said the city’s pension contributions have grown from $1.1 billion when he took office to $7.6 billion this fiscal year.  

The comptroller’s office said preliminary estimates indicate the pension system earned slightly more than 13% in fiscal 2010.