FORTUNE -- Yesterday came news that Barry Miller had stepped down as head of private equity investments for the New York City Employee Retirement Systems (NYCERS), in order to open a New York City office for Connecticut-based private equity firm Landmark Partners.
My immediate reaction: Is this a conflict of interest, given that NYCERS had just committed $400 million to Landmark's latest secondary fund?
So I looked into it and think that appearances are deceiving.
Here are some mitigating factors:
To be sure, there will be restrictions on Miller going forward. For example, he cannot be Landmark's liaison with NYCERS until June 2014. And he cannot share confidential NYCERS information with Landmark. On the other hand, it appears that he can work on the fund that includes NYCERS commitments. I asked a spokeswoman for the NYC Comptroller's Office about that, but she declined to specifically comment.
But the big issue going forward for NYCERS isn't Miller per se. It's who might replace him, managing billions of dollars on behalf of New York City pensioner.
Remember, Miller's position was vacant for several years before Miller was hired – in part due to mismanagement, and in part due to some restrictive job requirements (including NYC residency). As of right now, there is no successor for when Miller packs up his desk at the end of this month.
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