OK Teachers Opts To Snip Aldus Ties

The Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System voted on May 13 to end its relationship with Aldus Equity Partners in light of the fact that the firm and its founder Saul Meyer face charges in connection with the alleged kickback scheme involving the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Aldus Equity had managed a $450 million private equity fund-of-funds mandate for the $9 billion Oklahoma pension fund.

“After thorough evaluation, a recommendation to terminate the relationship was clearly in the best interest of the system and our clients,” said James Wilbanks, executive secretary of the pension fund, in a prepared statement. Wilbanks said there are no allegations of impropriety on the part of Aldus Equity, a Dallas-based private equity advisory firm, in the work it has done for the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System.

The pension fund chose Aldus Equity to handle its first private equity mandate last year, and it will conduct a search for a new private equity fund-of-funds manager to replace the beleaguered advisor. In the meantime, the portfolio will be managed internally.

In April, Wilbanks told Buyouts “The range of outcomes could be anything from the conclusion that Aldus was an innocent bystander that happened to get caught up in this, and therefore we recommend continuing the relationship, to they were a willing participant in this and knew what was going on and we recommend termination.”

The board is now considering a policy that would prohibit its managers from paying placement agents and other third parties.