Milwaukee County Helps Adams Street To $2B Goal

The $1.5 billion Employees’ Retirement System of the County of Milwaukee recently pledged $30 million to the Adams Street Partners 2009 Global Program. It’s also discussed a search for additional private equity managers for a possible $20 million commitment, although the search probably won’t occur until after an asset allocation study is completed.

In a presentation to the county’s board, Adams Street Partners said it began gathering funds for its 2009 global program in March. The firm is seeking to collect $2 billion, and plans to hold a final close in December. The firm plans to deploy 60 percent of its capital in the United States; 30 percent in non-U.S. developed markets; and 10 percent in non-U.S. emerging markets. The Chicago-based firm, considered a pioneer in fund-of-funds investing, expects to back over 120 groups in more than a thousand portfolio companies in a four-year period.

Milwaukee County had 1.7 percent of its portfolio in private equity/venture capital, as of May 31, 2008, but the limited partner has a target allocation of 3 percent to the asset class, with a range of zero to 5 percent. Other fund managers in its portfolio include Baring International Equity, Madison Dearborn Partners and Marlborough Capital Investment.

“The board has not approved an additional private equity search, although their asset allocation does dictate space for additional private equity investing. Our next order of business will be an asset allocation study, thus I doubt we will move towards any search until that has been completed,” said Kristin Finney-Cooke, a principal with Mercer Investment Consulting, which works with Milwaukee County.