Ohio pension invests $15m in Marathon distressed fund

 A Columbus, Ohio-based pension fund’s commitment marks its third alternative investment this year.  

The Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System (OHPRS) has approved an investment with Marathon Asset Management, according to the pension fund’s chief investment officer.

Columbus, Ohio-based OHPRS at its 16 June meeting signed off on a $15 million commitment to the Marathon European Credit Opportunities fund, chief investment officer Dennis Smith said. The Marathon fund will invest in distressed debt with a focus on corporate and real estate debt. Hartland is OHPRS’ advisor.

Last week, Blackstone announced it was acquiring a minority stake in Marathon, a deal that came to light after the pension fund already approved the investment. Smith said OHPRS is still assessing the Blackstone stake.

Smith also said the pension fund put out a request for proposal for a possible commitment in a co-mingled fund that would invest in the secondary private equity market. He added that OHPRS would look at moving that investment forward in the fourth quarter 2016 or first quarter 2017.

Normally commitments range from $10 million to $20 million, Smith said, though they can differ if necessary.

Investments OHPRS made earlier this year include a $15 million commitment to PIMCO’s Corporate Opportunities Fund II at its April meeting and a $20 million investment in the Long Wharf Real Estate Fund V at its February meeting.

OHPRS manages $799.3 million in assets, of which $162.9 million is in fixed-income securities, represented one-fifth of the portfolio. Some $94.3 million are invested in opportunistic funds managed by JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Wellington Trust Company.