South Carolina picks new alternatives consultant

Albourne America replaced Aon Hewitt to oversee the $29.7bn retirement system’s investments in real estate, private equity, credit and real assets.

South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC) has chosen Albourne America as its alternatives investment consultant, the pension fund said last week.

The London-based consultant started its five-year contract on August 4 to advise on credit, real estate, private equity, and real assets, Private Debt Investor's sister publication Private Equity Real Estate reported. The contract includes up to five one-year extensions. 

Albourne replaced Aon Hewitt Investing Consulting, Columbia, South Carolina-based RSIC’s previous investment consultant across asset classes. In April, RSIC chose Meketa Investment Group as its general investment consultant, which oversees its non-alternative investments like equities and fixed income.

“We chose Albourne because of their impressive breadth of industry expertise, and our admiration for the rigor of their private markets experience and research capability,” RSIC’s chief executive Michael Hitchcock said in a statement.

Private debt accounted for 5.9 percent, or $1.75 billion, of the retirement system's $29.7 billion portfolio at the beginning of second quarter, slightly under its 7 percent policy target, according to its most recent earnings report. The asset class generated a 14.1 percent return for the year ending March 31. RSIC had a total of 17.9 percent of its portfolio in credit, including private debt, emerging markets debt and other forms of credit. 

The RSIC allocated relatively the same proportion to private real estate, which comprised 6 percent of the total portfolio and showed returns of 7.9 percent in the year ending March 31. Private equity accounted for 8.9 of the total portfolio and had a 15.4 percent return for the year. The retirement system’s overall portfolio returned 11.6 percent over the time period.

The commission committed $100 million to Brookfield’s latest debt vehicle in June, as PDI previously reported. Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund V, which has a $3 billion target, is investing in floating-rate, interest-only loans, predominantly targeting mezzanine debt. The commitments are backed by US assets across all asset types with the option to lend up to 20 percent of the capital internationally.