Ohio BWC inches closer to secondary sale

Following a nearly five month search, the embattled Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has hired UBS Securities to sell its private equity portfolio on the secondary market, according to media reports.

Just before Christmas last year, Ohio BWC ran afoul of many general partners when it threatened to release sensitive investment data, such as portfolio company valuations and methodology notes, for all of its 68 private equity funds. While Ohio BWC ultimately decided to not release the contested underlying portfolio company information, it did unveil performance data for the funds in which it invested.

The disclosure report was prompted by an ongoing Ohio political scandal known as “Coingate,” in which Ohio BWC monies were invested, and lost, in a rare coins scheme. One result—in addition to resignations and likely prison sentences—was that OBWC retained Chicago advisory firm Ennis Knupp & Associates to formally review the valuations of all its private equity fund investments.

At the same time, the bureau began an effort to streamline its costs and hired advisor Wilshire Associates, which will also help oversee the UBS Securities auction.

Among its investments, Ohio BWC has put money in funds managed by The Carlyle Group, Castle Harlan, HarbourVest Partners, Lexington Partners, Invesco Private Capital and Wind Point Partners. In all, the pension’s total private equity commitments stand at more than $800 million with about half of those have already been invested. The current market value of the assets is reportedly $366 million.

According to Dow Jones, UBS Securities won the bid to conduct the secondary sale by topping competing proposals from Lehman Brothers, NYPPE Holdings and Triago. —Ken MacFadyen