Kansas Has Capacity For PE Pledges

The $11 billion Kansas Public Employees Retirement System has up to $115 million to pledge to private equity this year, said CIO Vince Smith.

With an actual allocation of 3.4 percent to private equity and a target of 6 percent, the pension fund has plenty of room for more pledges. “We have focused in several areas of the private equity market in sourcing ideas for investments this year,” said Smith, adding that the limited partner has recently made two commitments, although he declined to name them until they close.

Last year, up to $20 million went to Pine Brook Road Partners LP for growth equity investments in the energy and financial services sectors; up to $25 million went to First Reserve XII LP, an energy-focused buyout fund; and up to $20 million went to Audax Mezzanine Fund III LP, a mid-market vehicle with an average investment size of $20 million.

Kansas commits to buyout, venture capital, growth equity, distressed debt, mezzanine debt, natural resources and secondary funds. The state re-started its private equity program in 2008 after hiring a non-discretionary private equity consultant, California-based LP Capital Advisors.