Oregon Raises Its Target Allocation To Private Equity

Buyout shops recently gained access to a larger slice of the almost $65 billion managed by the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, but, given the slowdown in the fundraising market, it may be quite some time before the state hits its bumped-up target allocation.

The state now aims to invest 16 percent of the fund’s assets in private equity, the midpoint between a 12 percent and 20 percent target range. Oregon’s investment council hiked the target goal from 12 percent, and the target range from 9 percent to 15 percent.

The increase is part of a long-term objective of diversifying the state’s investments. “It doesn’t affect anything we’re doing in the short run. We’ll look at it opportunistically, but there’s nothing earmarked for any particular segment of the private equity world,” said Jay Fewel, the state’s senior equity investment officer. That said, Fewel added that the state predominantly invests in buyout funds because many venture capital funds are simply too small for the fund to pursue.

In May, Fewel told Buyouts that Oregon was on track to commit $2.5 billion to roughly 20 funds in 2007. And while he still thinks the state will hit that number, the rocky debt market has prompted some buyout shops to curtail their shopping which, in turn, has delayed some fundraising. “Things have slowed down dramatically,” Fewel said. “Some of what we thought might be ’07 might [now] be pushed to ’08 because of the credit crunch.”

In addition to raising its allocation to the asset class, the Beaver State also made commitments to three funds: $200 million to Wilbur Ross’ WLR Recovery Fund IV LP, up to $200 million to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI LP, and $150 million to Rockpoint Real Estate Fund III LP.—J.P.