New Director To Spearhead NH Alternatives

Lawrence Johansen has begun his new job as the director of investments for the New Hampshire Retirement System, a pension fund expected to commit $60 million per year to private equity through 2011.

Johansen spent more than 30 years in various positions at the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System. He replaces Rick Shafer, who left in May to join the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System as deputy chief investment officer.

In his new position at the New Hampshire pension fund, Johansen is responsible for providing investment advice to the board and investment committee, and directing all aspects of the limited partner’s investments. Johansen will coordinate overall investment planning and strategy; oversee external portfolio managers; recommend asset allocations; and maintain relationships with investment consultants and service providers.

At the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, Johansen served in a variety of roles, including managing director of external asset managers, private equity and corporate governance; securities investment officer; and actuary.

As of June 30, 2009, New Hampshire had a total portfolio of $4.4 billion, with the actual alternative investment allocation of 2.3 percent. The target allocation is 10 percent, with a range of zero to 15 percent. The alternative allocation includes private equity, with a target of 4 percent of the total fund; 4 percent to absolute return strategies; and 2 percent to opportunistic strategies.

In 2009 the state committed $20 million to secondary fund Lexington Capital Partners VII and $20 million to Audax Mezzanine Fund III.