NYSCRF’s Vicki Fuller joins AVCA advisory council

At the industry association’s forum in London last year, Fuller announced the $184.5bn pension fund’s plan to invest around $5bn in Africa in the next five years.

Vicki Fuller, chief investment officer of the $184.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF), has joined the advisory council of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, according to a statement from the industry association.

Fuller joins Joseph Boateng, chief investment officer at Casey Family Programs, a foundation with a $2.2 billion endowment, and Ben Zwinkels, chairman of the board at Tunisia-headquartered private equity firm AfricInvest.

At the AVCA Forum in London in April last year Fuller announced the pension fund’s plans to invest up to 3 percent of its assets – or around $5 billion – in Africa in the next five years. Recent commitments to Africa-focused funds by NYSCRF include a $100 million commitment to Helios Investors III and an $85 million commitment to African Capital Alliance’s fourth fund, which is in market targeting $600 million, both new relationships for the fund.

“My introduction to, and involvement with AVCA has been transformational for me. Since joining, we have increased our commitments, and are looking to do even more,” Fuller said in the statement. “Needless to say, I am deeply committed to the goal of attracting higher levels of private capital to Africa and I am delighted to be joining the Advisory Council to help drive this objective.”

The AVCA has also appointed Abraaj Group partner Sev Vettivetpillai to its board of directors. Vettivetpillai is responsible for Abraaj’s sector-focused funds, including healthcare, real estate and energy infrastructure, as well as leading efforts on launching new products and strategies.

The AVCA board is currently chaired by Hurley Doddy, a managing director, founding partner and co-chief executive officer at pan-African private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners.

“We have been investing in Africa for over two decades now and consequently, have built a deep expertise and unshakeable confidence in the opportunities and rewards that exist in this market,” Vettivetpillai said in the statement.

Abraaj’s latest pan-African private equity vehicle, Abraaj Africa Fund III, closed in 2015 on its $990 million hard-cap after around 12 months in market. The fund will focus on mid-market companies in the consumer goods and services, consumer finance, and resource and infrastructure services sectors in the core geographies of Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, and Kenya.

Investors in the fund include the International Finance Corporation, which committed $50 million, Danish pension fund PKA AIP, which committed DKK 75 million (€10.1 million; $11.2 million), and Swedish state-owned company Swedfund, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Last year Abraaj also closed it second North Africa-focused fund on $375 million, considerably above its $250 million target.

In 2015 the total value of private equity funds raised in Africa leaped to $4.3 billion from $1.9 billion the year before, according to AVCA’s annual PE Data Tracker report, released in February.

A total of $16.2 billion has been raised for the continent since 2010, half of which is in regional funds, a third encompassing sub-Sahara and the remainder pan-African. 

Despite a strong year on the fundraising side, transactions dropped to $2.5 billion from a five-year high of $8.1 billion in 2014 due to a decline in deals above $250 million, according to the AVCA data.