Under the leadership of Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York City says it is poised to become the first city in the United States to advance comprehensive retirement security solutions at the local level, with as many as three public-private retirement savings options to be established this year.
Stringer announced the formation of the Retirement Security Study Group (NYC RSSG) a few months after the city’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, proposed legislation that would create a board tasked with studying and establishing a centrally pooled pension fund for the city’s private sector.
Stringer says the NYC RSSG group is charged with developing “innovative and affordable savings options” for the growing number of New Yorkers without access to retirement plans at work. Stringer’s office notes that he first announced his plans to form the study group in June 2014 at a conference at The New School in New York City.
“Too many New Yorkers are facing a fiscal cliff when it comes to their retirement, without sufficient savings to live out their lives in dignity,” Stringer says. “We need to create more retirement savings options, and provide New Yorkers with safe, affordable strategies to plan for their future. That will not only help to preserve the City’s fiscal health and promote our economic well-being, it will help to give seniors the financial resources they need to partake in all that this City has to offer.”
Stringer points to recently released data from The New School showing nearly six in 10 (59%) New York City residents between the ages of 25 and 64 lack access to any retirement plan at their place of employment to highlight the need for more savings options. Furthermore, Stringer says, 44% of New York households headed by an individual in this age group, and 40% of households headed by someone aged 55 to 64, have less than $10,000 in liquid assets that could be used to provide financial support in retirement.
The seven-member RSSG will be chaired by Scott Evans, appointed last year by Stringer to serve as Deputy Comptroller for Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer of the New York City Pension Funds. Prior to this position, Evans worked for more than 27 years at TIAA-CREF.
Stringer says the study group will be fully funded through existing resources within the Comptroller’s Office. He says it will work to develop “up to three retirement savings options by the fall of 2015 that comply with all relevant state and federal laws and protect City residents from liability.”
Those options will then be considered by another task force, to be named at a later date, comprised of key stakeholders, including representatives from government, labor, business and the policy and non-profit sectors, as well as other relevant parties, Stringer says.
“These study group members are all national leaders in the area of retirement security, and I am honored that they have chosen to join this effort,” Stringer notes. “Our goal is to create options that can meet the needs of employees and employers, while protecting taxpayers and upholding the interests of City pension beneficiaries.”
In addition to chairman Evans, the full NYC Retirement Security Study Group includes Teresa Ghilarducci, David Laibson, Olivia S. Mitchell, Alicia Munnell, Joshua Rauh, and Stephen P. Zeldes. Background information on RSSG members, as well as more information on New York City’s plans for establishing more retirement savings options for private-sector workers, is available at www.comptroller.nyc.gov.