New Mexico invests half of 2011 PE allocation

The US pension has already committed nearly half of its $130m private equity allocation to JMI Equity, Hellman & Friedman and GTCR.

The $11.7 billion New Mexico Public Employees’ Retirement Association has already spent a big chunk of the $130 million it had allocated for private equity allocation for 2011, with about $60 million left to commit.

New Mexico has a 5 percent allocation to private equity and this year has committed about $69 million to three firms – JMI Equity VII, GTCR X and Hellman & Friedman VII.

The Hellman fund closed in 2009 on $8.8 billion, but will be activated this year, making it a 2011 vintage, according to Joelle Mevi, the pension’s investment director. The JMI fund, which closed on $875 million in November, also will be a 2011 vintage.

“[We anticipate] two to three more commitments for board approval this year,” Mevi told PEO.

Last year, the pension set aside about $100 million for private equity; in 2009, New Mexico budgeted $120 million for the asset class.

The pension boosted its overall allocation to alternative investments to 20 percent last year, increasing the percentage of the total fund to real estate from 2.5 to 3 percent. The private equity allocation stayed at 5 percent.

For real estate, the pension has about $70 million for commitments, up from $50 million last year. New Mexico didn’t meet the $50 million goal last year, so some of the 2010 allocation shifted into this year, Mevi said.

There has been “some ramp up in investment activity” in real estate, Mevi said. “We were in a lull, but there are opportunities beginning to appear.”