Maryland Has Plenty More To Spend On PE

Despite a busy summer of commitments, the $36.7 billion Maryland State Retirement and Pension System still has a long way to go in ramping up its exposure to private equity. The pension fund has more than $1 billion available to spend on the asset class, with no prescribed investment pace.

According to a performance report current through July 31, 2008, the state had $666.83 million invested in private equity, or 1.9 percent of the pension fund’s total value. The pension fund’s target allocation for private equity is 5 percent, with a permitted range of 1 percent to 9 percent. The pace of commitments is not pre-determined and depends on the investment opportunity set, Dean Kenderdine, executive director of the pension fund, told Buyouts.

The state has been active of late, committing about $488 million to eight private equity funds between April and August of this year, with pledge sizes ranging from $25 million to $150 million to a diverse set of U.S. and European private equity funds, said Kenderdine. The commitments include $150 million to Madison Dearborn Capital Partners VI LP; €50 million ($79.6 million) to CVC European Equity Partners V LP; $75 million to Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund V LP; $50 million to Great Hill Equity Partners IV LP; $40 million to Advent International GPE VI LP; $40 million to Quantum Energy Partners V LP; €20 million ($28 million) to Advent Central and Eastern Europe IV LP; and $25 million to Longitude Venture Partners LP.

This January, Maryland raised its private equity target allocation to 5 percent, up from 2 percent. The program permits primary commitments, investments in fund of funds, as well as other types of investments recommended by its private equity consultant, Altius Associates. The portfolio is weighted heavily with buyout and venture funds, but the pension fund also has the flexibility to back funds earmarked for growth, distressed (control and non-control), mezzanine, secondary, and energy and natural resources investments.