NYC pension exec to step down

Horatio Sparkes, who oversees the investment of five New York City pension funds, including a nascent private equity programme, has submitted his resignation to city comptroller William Thompson.

Horatio Sparkes, the deputy comptroller for pensions reporting to New York City comptroller William Thompson, has submitted his resignation.

Sparkes will step down on September 15.

Sparkes was in charge of the implementation of investment policies decided by the boards of the five New York City pension funds advised by the comptroller.

“It’s big news”, according to a private equity professional familiar with the situation.

The comptrollers office advises the $95 billion New York City Retirement System, which includes the assets of five city organisations – the Board of Education Retirement System; the New York City Employees’ Retirement System; the Teachers’ Retirement System; the Fire Department Pension Fund; and the Police Pension Fund.

In a statement, Thompson said: “Horatio Sparkes has served as Deputy Comptroller for Pensions since 2002. During his tenure, he has been a tremendous asset to the City’s pension funds, serving as my representative to the five funds. I am grateful to Horatio for his service to New York City and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In 2004, the NYC pensions approved a long-term, $4 billion allocation to the private equity asset class.

Since then the comptrollers’ office has suffered from turnover. In 2004, deputy comptroller Adam Blumenthal and Joshua Wolf-Powers, who oversaw private equity, left to launch an independent private equity firm, Partnership Equity. A new chief investment officer, Deborah Gallegos, was named the same year, but Gallegos, a big proponent of private equity, quit this past April due to “professional reasons”, according to an NYC spokesperson.