Orange County narrows advisor search to three

The $9.3bn retirement system is hiring its first-ever private equity advisor, and is one of a number of US public pensions making changes to investment consultant relationships.

The Orange County Employees’ Retirement System has selected Albourne America, BlackRock Solutions and Holland Park as finalists in its search for a private equity investment consultant. It will be the first private equity advisor for OCERS, which has never previously hired a private equity-focused investment consultant.

Albourne provides advisory services to the Utah Retirement System, University of Texas Investment Management Company and Acropolis Capital Partners. Holland Park advises pensions in the US and Canada, including the $13 billion San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System. BlackRock Solutions provides advisory services for approximately $10 trillion in securities and derivatives across more than 150 clients.

Orange County will make further investment consultant decisions at its next investment committee meeting, scheduled for 31 August.

At the pension’s regular meeting last week, OCERS selected Courtland Partners, Pension Consulting Alliance and R.V. Kuhns & Associates as semi-finalists to provide real estate consulting services. OCERS’ current real estate consultant is Callan Associates. Its target allocation to real estate is 10 percent.

Last month, OCERS selected NEPC as its general investment advisor, replacing Callan. The pension issued a request for proposal in February for real estate, private equity, hedge fund, risk and general investment consultant services.

As of June 30, 2011, OCERS’ total fund stood at more than $9.3 billion. Its one-year return as of June 30, 2011 was 19.22 percent.

OCERS isn’t the only public pension in California making changes to its consultant relationships. In June, the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System moved forward on plans to transfer “specialised alternative investment consultant services” from Pension Consulting Alliance to Hamilton Lane, LACERS’ existing traditional investment consultant.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System also terminated its decades-long relationship with Pacific Corporate Group last October.