The management and operations of New York City's public pension funds need to be brought "into the 21st century", the city's comptroller said on Tuesday after releasing a report he commissioned on the bureau which runs the funds.

The report on the Bureau of Asset Management, which oversees the investments of $160 billion of New York City pension funds, concluded that the unit's "current investment strategy presents a very high level of operational risk" and "an operational failure is increasingly likely".

The report highlighted a number of flaws in the system, according to a summary by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

These included the unit's organizational structure being too dependent on senior management, which created bottlenecks in decision making.

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The unit should standardize its practices and develop a regular, formal risk and compliance reporting regimen, Stringer's summary said. Officials such as deputy chief investment officers and a senior executive should be appointed, the summary said.

“For too long, too little attention has been paid to our investment operations and there was a sense that nothing could be done to cut through an intractable bureaucracy," Stringer said in a news release.

"To continue to fulfill our fiduciary duties, we must re-engineer every process and procedure and bring our investment operations into the 21st century."

The contents of the report were earlier reported by the New York Times.