Penn State makes follow-on commitments to private funds

The Pennsylvania State pension fund is making additional commitments to existing alternative managers as part of a plan to invest more money with fewer firms.

The $27 billion Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System has made follow-on commitments to two of its existing alternative managers at its July 23 board meeting.

One is a commitment of up to $50 million that will go to the Centerbridge Capital Partners III fund for investments in distressed debt, middle market private equity and special situations / structured financing. “This commitment enhances total fund liquidity by investing in shorter term strategies and supports the fund’s initiative to make fewer, larger commitments to top-tier managers as outlined in the 2014 – 2015 Strategic Investment Plan,” said a statement from the pension fund.

The other commitment is an up to $25 million mandate for ABRY Partners Fund VIII, a growth-oriented buyout fund focused on media, telecommunications and information business service sectors. Both investments are in line with Penn SERS’ plan to invest more money with fewer managers to avoid over-diversification.

The Harrisburg, PA-based Penn SERS is also in the midst of a search for its next CIO. The pension hired executive search firm Korn / Ferry International to help the plan find a successor to Anthony Clark, the fund’s previous CIO who retired at the end of last year in the midst of allegations of misconduct on a pension fund deal. Thomas Brier, the deputy investment chief, was appointed interim CIO in March.