Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who is one of several candidates jockeying for the state comptroller position, took a moment to explain that unlike what most people think the job isn’t that of a stock picker.
“The last thing in the world you want is the comptroller picking stocks,” Brodsky told me.
“Well, because you can’t possibly manage a $150 billion portfolio one investment at a time. Second of all, the job here is to balance reward and risk, in terms of investment, in ways that are not similar to managing one’s own portfolio.
“This is not a question of whether you know whether you should be picking GE or GM. It’s a question of how you calculate risk, especially in a fund that has been very heavily involved in what I’ll call domestic equity. Essentially, if the stock market tanks, the fund tanks. That’s not good policy. There needs to be a diversified investment portfolio including what are called alternative investments in ways that really reduce long term risk.”
The four-year-term of the comptroller, which controls billions of dollars, is being filled by the legislature.
“I think four years without an election is too long,” he said said. “I think there ought to be a way to fill the vacancy and then bring it to a special election.” He noted that would take a constitutional amendment and the issue can’t be dealt with right now.
— Azi Paybarah