MassPRIM hires private equity chief

Michael Bailey will join the $50.6bn retirement system in February to manage its $5.8bn private equity portfolio.

The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board has finally rebuilt its private equity team after losing former chief Wayne Smith in 2011. 

On Tuesday, MassPRIM announced the appointment of Michael Bailey to manage its $5.8 billion private equity portfolio. Bailey, currently of endowment asset manager HighVista Strategies, will join the $50.6 billion retirement system on 26 February, according to a statement. 

“Private equity is the best performing asset class at PRIM,” said Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman in a statement. “We’re counting on Michael Bailey to maintain that leadership position.” 

MassPRIM has struggled to retain talent in recent years, losing several high-ranking investment professionals to private sector positions. 

Smith, who spent 11 years building MassPRIM’s private equity portfolio, left the pension system in 2011 to join Pathway Capital Management, a $24 billion private equity fund of funds manager. Soon afterward, senior investment officer for private equity Michael Langdon departed to join Hermes GPE, a joint venture between Hermes Private Equity and asset manager Gartmore. 

“With this hire, we have filled all of our key senior investment roles at PRIM,” MassPRIM executive director and chief investment officer Michael Trotsky said. “Michael brings superb experience and a sharp mind to overseeing the category. His unique skill set is built from years of work in private equity as an investment banker, at a large pension and with an elite endowment investment manager.”

MassPRIM’s board appointed Trotsky to the CIO position in October. Trotsky had been MassPRIM’s interim CIO since May, when Stanley Mavromates joined consultant group Mercer. He retained his executive directorship, a role he has held at the retirement system since 2010.

In December, MassPRIM approved a new compensation structure in an effort to prevent future ‘brain drain’, according to reports. The new plan increased the cap on bonuses from 30 percent of compensation to 40 percent of compensation for the retirement system’s asset class chiefs.