Pennsylvania commits $40m to JH Whitney, Advent

The pension, which is cutting back its private equity programme, will invest $25m in JH Whitney’s seventh fund and $15m in Advent’s fifth Latin American fund.

The Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, with $24 billion in assets, has committed $40 million to JH Whitney and Advent International, two firms with which the pension has had long relationships.

The pension, which is significantly over-allocated to the asset class, invested $25 million in JH Whitney’s seventh fund. It’s not clear how much the fund is targeting. PA SERS also committed $15 million to Advent Latin America Private Equity Fund V. The target for Fund V has not been disclosed.

PA SERS is cutting back its private equity programme to get its allocation back in balance, but the pension is not completely stopping investing in the asset class. The pension board is looking to “maintain, on a highly selective basis, existing core relationships with top-tier alternative investment managers who we believe have the greatest capability to create long-term value for the SERS Fund”, according to PA SERS Chairman Nicholas Maiale.

The pension made its first private equity commitment in 2010 when it committed $25 million to Oaktree Power Opportunities Fund III, which is targeting $800 million. PA SERS has had a long relationship with Oaktree, having committed $450 million to 12 Oaktree funds since 1996.

Pennsylvania has been a long-term investor in private equity, starting its programme in 1985. Its private equity portfolio is valued at $5.7 billion.

At the meeting earlier this week, the pension’s investment staff informed the board it would be recommending commitments to Weathergage Venture Capital II, which is looking for a total of $250 million, and Francisco Partners III, targeting $2 billion for technology-focused investments.