Connecticut Has $300M To Back Funds

The Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds could pledge anywhere from zero to $300 million through the balance of its fiscal year, according to a spokesperson.

So far during fiscal-year 2010, which ends June 30, the limited partner has committed a total of $175 million to two funds: $75 million to Audax Mezzanine III, Audax Group’s $750 million-targeted subordinated debt fund that launched in December, and $100 million to Landmark Partners’s Landmark Equity Partners XIV, a secondary fund that recently closed with $1.9 billion.

The LP’s asset allocation plan includes a target for private equity of 11 percent, with the current allocation standing at about 7.8 percent.

Treasurer Denise Nappier, who is the sole trustee of the $23 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, comprising six state pension and eight state trust funds, has authorized a private equity pacing plan “designed to identify potential investment opportunities, which are based in large part on factors such as the opportunity set for private equity, the level of risk-adjusted returns, and the desire to invest with managers that are currently fundraising and meet the criteria” of the state, according to a spokesperson.

Pledges made by the state in 2009 include $75 million to buyout shop Freeman Spogli & Co. for its FS Equity Partners VI LP, which had raised $419.2 million as of February, according to an SEC filing, toward a target of $1.75 billion; $75 million to TA Associates’s TA XI LP, which closed in August with $4 billion; and Leeds Equity Partners V LP, which, as of April, had raised $500 million toward its goal of $1 billion.

Meanwhile, the position of principal investment officer of private equity in Connecticut remains unoccupied since Jason Price resigned in March 2009.

In other New England LP news, the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island could pledge $50 million to $80 million over the next year to private equity, depending on market conditions, said Mark Dingley, chief of staff. The LP intends to avoid large corporate buyouts and will likely focus on special situations. The $7 billion plan sponsor is a bit beyond its target to the asset class of 7.5 percent, with the actual allocation now standing at 8.5 percent.