LP corner, week of Feb. 2, 2009

TIFF looks to raises FoF, secondary fund

The Investment Fund For Foundations

(TIFF) is seeking to raise a $300 million fund of funds this year, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the strategy of the fund is unclear, the firm has a history of backing both buyout and venture capital funds.

TIFF has already secured commitments of $31.75 million for TIFF Private Equity Partners 2009, the filing stated. TIFF didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The limited partner, which is based in West Conshohocken, Pa., is a cooperative-style investment organization whose members include private and community foundations as well as educational institutions. Its private investment program has 303 participants and assets of $2.19 billion.

TIFF is also gearing up to participate in the burgeoning secondary market. The limited partner disclosed capital commitments of $31.1 million for TIFF Secondary Partners II in a separate regulatory filing on Dec. 31. The target for this pool is $150 million, the filing stated. The cooperative last raised a secondary fund in 2003, garnering pledges totaling $150 million for TIFF Secondary Partners I.

TIFF was expecting to secure at least $75 million in pledges for the secondary fund by the end of January, and to reach the overall target within a “few months,” according to a recent report by PE Insider. —Michael Baron

CalSTRS may bump up PE allocation

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System could be making more room for private equity within its considerable portfolio. The limited partner will likely expand its PE target allocation to 12% from 9%, according to board documents, although the formal adoption of new targets won’t take place until July.

“The bottom line for us is to be flexible in our management of the portfolio, taking advantage of market opportunities as conditions change,” says Ricardo Duran, a CalSTRS spokesperson.

The state pension fund is contemplating the move because market declines have pushed its actual private equity allocation to 14.3% as of Dec. 31, 2008, and it expects upcoming capital calls to swell that percentage even further.

The current target of 9% was adopted during a 2003 asset/liability study. At the time, CalSTRS expected it would take five or more years to reach that goal. —Nancy Gordon

NY State Common picks advisors

The $154 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund has concluded its long search for managers of its private equity emerging manager program.

The state plans to allocate $350 million to Parish Capital Advisors, $250 million of which will be for co-investment opportunities and $100 million for fund investments. Bank of America’s Banc of America Capital Access Funds will receive another $200 million for fund investments, according to Robert Whalen, spokesperson for the state pension fund.

Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Parish Capital Advisors manages funds of funds that invest in early stage venture capital funds and small-market to mid-market buyout funds, committing mostly to experienced, small and niche managers. Founded in 2003, Parish Capital opened an office in London in 2006.

Chicago-based Banc of America Capital Access Funds sponsors funds of funds focused on underserved U.S. markets. It commits to venture, growth, mezzanine and buyout funds.

New York State Common Retirement Fund began its formal emerging manager private equity program in 2005. The program targets funds of less than $750 million, as well as those owned by women and minority managers. The state now has more than $400 million invested via the program. The pension fund expects to allocate an additional $600 million over the next several years to emerging managers.

The RFP for the emerging managers assignment was issued in November 2007, with responses due in January 2008. —Nancy Gordon