LACERS commits $10m to third Spark fund

The system's commitment came shortly before Spark Capital III closed on $353m.

The Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System recently committed up to $10 million to Spark Capital III, which closed last month on $353 million.

Boston-based Spark Management Partners’ second fund closed in 2007 with $360 million in commitments, including $9.75 million from LACERS. Fund II had an IRR of approximately 25 percent as of 31 May, according to performance numbers from The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). The UTIMCO report indicated that Spark had not yet returned any capital. As of 30 November 2009, the fund’s IRR was at just over 43 percent, according to the pension's numbers.

Spark Capital III has 41 investors, according to an SEC filing, and will invest in online and digital media companies. Spark Management Partners was founded in 2005 and has invested in internet companies including Twitter and Tumblr.

LACERS, which has $9.0 billion in assets, has a target allocation to alternatives of 9 percent and an actual allocation of 10.5 percent. LACERS has picked up its commitment pace to private equity funds this year compared to 2009.

In March, the pension committed $20 million to Providence Equity’s debt fund, which is targeting $1 billion. This March, the pension committed $20 million to JH Whitney VII. LACERS has also this year committed to American Securities Opportunities Fund II and Enhanced Equity Fund II.