LP Radar: A curious appointment

Robert “Bo” Ramsey was named director of private equity at the $26 billion Indiana Public Retirement System in December – less than a year after joining the pension fund.

Ramsey joined in April 2012 as a senior investment analyst on the private equity team. Previously, he had worked for software company iasta as an associate general counsel, and before that he was with law firm Ice Miller working on private equity deals. He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 2008, according to state documents. That’s a rapid rise, and it’s taken many in the industry by surprise.

Still, it’s only the latest in a series of surprising events at the fund. The Indiana Public Retirement System was only created in 2011, after the state decided to combine all of its state pension funds into one unified institution. At the helm as director of private equity was Bob Clone, who had more than 20 years of public pension investment experience: he worked as senior portfolio manager for the State of Michigan Retirement System from 1999 to 2010, managing more than $11.5 billion in private equity commitments, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Late last year, however, Clone left the system (in October, according to LinkedIn, though there was no official word). It’s unclear why he left, and Indiana is so far refusing to answer questions about the situation. But several LPs who know Clone told me they were surprised by his departure, which one characterised as “abrupt”. 

 

457.gifGenerally, the people who run private equity portfolios at public pensions have more than a few years' experience behind them.458.gif 

What’s even stranger is that before he left, Clone was supervising a huge secondary sale, as part of an effort to “clean up” Indiana’s portfolio. So it had hired UBS to help sell about $220 million worth of LP stakes, and Greenhill & Company to run a sales process for more than $600 million of private equity interests.