Middlesex Joins Growing List of VC Investors

Although it has dabbled in private equity before, the $530 million Middlesex County Employees’ Retirement System in Massachusetts will allocate another $15 million to the asset class once it selects an advisor to outline an investment program.

Middlesex County is one of a handful of institutional investors that have either made first-ever allocations to private equity in the last several months or have upped their private equity allocations. Together the LPs represent about $1 billion of new money in the sector. Among the list of new private equity investors is Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement Fund and State of Illinois.

At Middlesex County’s August board meeting, the public pension fund voted to move into the private equity and real estate sectors. Its search for a private equity advisor will end today.

Middlesex County has invested with venture capital firms in the past. It has stakes in Charles River Partnership VI and Commonwealth BioVentures III LP. Still, $15 million represents 2.8% of the fund’s overall investment capital – a significant jump from its current level of private equity investment.

Neither Nancy O’Neil, Middlesex’s director of investment, nor Jeff Fabrizio, the plan’s advisor at Wainwright, returned calls seeking comment.

The pension fund’s private equity allocation will fall under its alternative investment portfolio. Middlesex increased its alternative investment allocation from 5% to 7% in October 2000 after noting that its alternative investments had “favorable returns” and “the expectation that a number of partnerships in which it is invested will be returning capital to limited partners in the coming years,” according to a report from the plan’s board.

Contact Carolina Braunschweig