LACERS commits $15m to JH Whitney

The commitment is one of several agreed by the Los Angeles pension this year.

The Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) committed $15 million to JH Whitney VII.

LACERS, which has $9.9 billion in assets, has a target allocation to alternatives of 7 percent and an actual allocation of 8.6 percent.

It is unknown how much JH Whitney’s latest fund is seeking to raise. Its sixth fund closed in 2005 with $750 million.

LACERS’ private equity investment pace picked up significantly this year.

In March, the pension fund committed $20 million to Angeleno Investors III, a fund that is targeting $250 million for investments in alternative energy and clean technology companies in the US. The manager of the fund is The Angeleno Group, founded in 2001 as a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm by Yaniv Tepper, Daniel Weiss and Zeb Rice.

In January, LACERS invested $20 million in American Securities Opportunities Fund II, which will raise an undisclosed amount. The fund focuses on investments in financially stressed companies as well as company turnarounds, restructurings and bankruptcies.

Also in January, the pension fund committed $20 million to Enhanced Equity Fund II, a fund targeting $350 million for healthcare investments. Enhanced Equity invests $5 million to $25 million in healthcare and information and business services in strategies including growth capital, recapitalisations and buyouts. Enhanced Equity’s first fund collected $225 million.

As for JH Whitney, the $24 billion Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System committed $25 million to JH Whitney’s seventh fund in March.

The pension fund invested scantily in private equity in 2009, as it dealt with repercussions from a national pension pay-to-play scandal that allegedly involved some firms the pension had dealt with in the past.

The pension board’s chairman, Eric Holoman, stepped down last year to be in compliance with a California law prohibiting pension fund members from selling investments to state pension plans. Holoman believed the bill would impair his ability to act as an asset manager in his private equity and real estate professions.

Roberta Conroy was named president of the board last year and Dan Gallagher is currently LACERS' chief investment officer.