PA PSERS backs Platinum Equity following delayed vote

Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System at its August meeting went forward with its planned commitment to Platinum Equity’s latest fund, despite continued protest from advocacy groups.

The board approved a $300 million commitment to Platinum Equity Capital Partners V, targeting $8 billion. The global PE fund focuses on underperforming and undermanaged businesses in North America. Its fourth fund closed at $6.5 billion in 2017.

PA PSERS delayed investing into Platinum Equity’s fifth fund at its May meeting after two advocacy groups, Worth Rises and Private Equity Stakeholder Project, raised concerns about Platinum Equity’s prison telecommunications company Securus, which manages inmate phone systems for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Both groups raised similar concerns at the August meeting, Press Secretary Steve Esack told Active LPs.

“PA PSERS’s board of trustees certainly listened and considered the input from the advocacy groups, but on balance believed that the new Platinum fund is a good investment,” said Esack. “Our board felt that our advisory seat would give us the ability to influence the direction of Platinum and the companies that could become part of the new fund.”

Worth Rises did not respond to Active LPs request for comment. Private Equity Stakeholder Project was unable to be reached for comment.

The system also pledged $300 million to SSG Capital Management’s fifth Asian private credit fund. SSG Capital Partners V is targeting $1.05 billion, according to the SEC.

PA PSERS approved $1 billion in investments throughout its asset classes at the meeting to highlight its diversification strategy, according to a press release. “This is a balanced asset allocation strategy that follows the old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket,” CIO James H. Grossman said in the press release.

The system’s private markets allocation makes up 14.6 percent of the PA PSERS’s portfolio, as of Mar. 31.