Travaglini to leave Mass PRIM

Michael Travaglini, who helped grow the $44bn state pension's private equity programme, is leaving to join a hedge fund of funds in Chicago.

Michael Travaglini, executive director of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, is stepping down from his position to join Grosvenor Capital Management, a hedge fund of funds based in Chicago.

The pension board will hold a succession planning session at its next meeting in June.

Travaglini told The Boston Globe he is leaving because of proposed legislative changes that could limit bonus awards for pension fund employees.

“If you need the context for my decision, it's an entirely personal one. I have a wife and three children, and I'm going to provide for them,” he told the newspaper.


Massachusetts PRIM manages about $44.2 billion in assets. Under Travaglini’s leadership, the pension board ramped up its exposure to private equity from 5.7 percent, when he started in 2004, to its current target of 10 percent.

The pension has been one of the more active limited partners in the US during the downturn, and wants to spend $1 billion this year on commitments. The pension had a $1.5 billion target for private equity in 2009 but only committed about $600 million, Travaglini told PEO in a prior interview.

Under Travaglini, the pension has been “strategy agnostic”, not targeting any specific investment strategy. “We have a bottom up approach to private equity investing … we’re looking for the best deals of the vintage year in the eyes of my staff and consultants”, he said.

The pension has also become more creative in finding good deals. Last year, Mass PRIM bought a secondaries interest in Denham Capital Management Commodity Management Partners V from Harvard Management Company for $150 million. The purchase was unique for the pension, which hadn’t done secondaries in the past.

Travaglini also has been an outspoken supporter of placement agents introducing public pensions to private equity managers. Last year, Travaglini warned against an outright ban on placement agents interacting with public pensions.

“Legitimate placement agents are a long established part of the asset management industry,” Travaglini said last June. “Banning placement agents, to me, achieves nothing.”

In his new role at Grosvenor, Travaglini will be trying to get commitments from institutions for the hedge fund, according to The Boston Globe.