Commonfund Launches $600 Million Fund Of Funds

The private equity arm of Commonfund has begun raising money for a new fund of funds, the Commonfund Capital Private Equity Partners VIII, which aims to raise and invest $600 million upon its closing, according to a filing.

While the fund’s strategy was not made clear in the filing, Commonfund has in the past invested more than $1 billion each into private equity funds run by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Genstar Capital, the Audax Group, Hellman & Friedman as well as Summit Partners, according to Dow Jones.

Commonfund is primarily a money manager for foundations and university endowments and has helped manage assets for institutions such as the universities of Chicago, Michigan and Notre Dame, as well as the Alfred I. Dupont Trust and the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, according to Dow Jones. It has recently started accepting money from institutions outside the non-profit sector.

The new private equity fund of funds has a lower target than the last fund in the series, the $1 billion Commonfund Capital Private Equity Partners VII, which closed in 2008.

Founded in 1971 and based in Wilton, Conn., Commonfund currently manages $26 billion overall for 1,500 clients, including $11.7 billion in alternative assets.

Separately, the money manager named Fredric Nelson as its chief investment officer. In his new role, he will oversee investments in equities and fixed income. Nelson, 54, came to his new role from ING Investment Management, where he led a 300-person team that managed $165 billion in institutional money that was allocated to private equity and hedge funds as well as traditional investments, according to a Commonfund press release.

Nelson will report to Verne Sedlacek, Commonfund’s CEO, who said in a statement that Nelson’s “expertise and leadership when collaborating with our already strong investment team will be invaluable.”

The chief executive of Commonfund’s private equity arm, Susan Carter, will continue to report to Sedlacek.