MassPRIM enters emerging markets

The US public pension has made $65m in commitments to Ethos Fund IV and SAIF Partners IV.

The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board has committed $65 million in its first-ever emerging markets private equity commitments.

The $44 billion pension fund committed up to $40 million to Ethos Fund IV and up to $25 million to SAIF Partners IV. Ethos’ fourth fund is a $750 million buyout fund focused on South Africa; SAIF Partners IV is a $1.2 billion late-stage/expansion capital fund focused on India, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

MassPRIM's board also approved a $37 million commitment to Gilde Buy-Out Partners IV, a midmarket fund focused on Germany, France and the Benelux countries.

“Our private equity programme is ‘bottoms up’ focused. We let the opportunities dictate the investments,” said Michael Travaglini, executive director of MassPRIM.

“Our private equity team thought these investments were among the better ones they’re seeing this year. We’re not working off a target for emerging markets private equity,” Travaglini said.

In February, Travaglini told PEO the fund was planning to spend $1 billion on private equity in 2010.

“The target is only a guide in our annual plan. We had a $1.5 billion target for 2009 and made only $600 million in new commitments,” he said at the time.

MassPRIM's target to the asset class is 10 percent. The pension also has a 10 percent target to real estate.

MassPRIM committed to firms representing various strategies in 2009, including Gores Group, Oaktree Capital Management, Charlesbank Capital Partners and Xenon Private Equity.

As of 31 July, 2009, Mass PRIM’s alternatives portfolio was valued at $3.7 billion. The portfolio includes venture, buyouts, special situations, mezzanine and secondaries investments.