Mr. Wilson aims at Albany

A GP wants to clean up the New York pension system.

Harry Wilson recently became one of a number of contenders in the race to become the next New York state comptroller – a position that carries with it sole fiduciary oversight of the $126 billion New York State Common Retirement System, based in Albany.

Harry Wilson

Considering that the public pension has been at the centre of an earth-shattering private equity-related scandal, Wilson has an intriguing background. He is a general partner at Connecticut-based distressed debt fund Silver Point Capital and a former employee of private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Clayton Dubilier & Rice.

The Harvard MBA, a Republican, has reportedly said that he has “skills essential to the comptroller’s role and all skills the current appointed occupant lacks” – a reference to Democratic incumbent Thomas DiNapoli.

DiNapoli is currently playing clean-up after the disastrous tenure of Alan Hevesi, who allegedly presided over a wide-ranging pay-to-play scandal, whereby individuals were accused of accepting sham finder’s fees in exchange for securing commitments from the pension.  The scandal ensnared former pension officials, influence peddlers and several private equity firms.

It remains to be seen whether the public will elect a private equity/hedge fund executive to oversee a major pension. If Wilson is victorious, it will mean GPs seeking commitments from someone who knows their business all too well.