This week's Influential Black Episcopalian: Bill Thompson
This week we will look into a fellow New Yorker: Bill Thompson. Some of you that remember Bill Thompson will remember him as he ran for the mayor of NYC in 2009 and 2013. Thompson was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn. His grandparents immigrated to New York City from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean. Thompson attended Midwood High School, a public school in Brooklyn, and graduated from Tufts University in 1974.
In the role of City of New York's chief financial officer, Thompson led a team of 720 employees, managed a $66 million annual operating budget and the country's 5th largest pension fund, a multibillion-dollar fund that was rated among the top 20 in the world. As New York City Comptroller, Thompson was the custodian and investment advisor to the five boards of trustees of the Five New York City Pension Funds, which included the New York City Employee's Retirement System; the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York; the New York City Police Pension Fund; the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund; and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System. Thompson worked to diversify the pension portfolio from primarily public equities into private equity, real estate and other asset classes, and since 2003, the funds grew at a pace of 12.33% a year, outperforming its actuarial return assumption of 8%. In addition, during Thompson's tenure, assets managed by minority-and-women-owned firms increased from less than $2 billion to over $6 billion.
A lifelong Brooklyn resident, Thompson moved to Harlem in 2008 after marrying Elsie McCabe Thompson, a Harvard-trained lawyer and the former president of the Museum for African Art.