Fresno County culls for international growth equity firm

Fresno County (Calif.) Employees' Retirement Association is conducting a shortlist search for an active international growth equity manager to run about $221 million, said Phillip Kapler, executive director of the $3.2 billion pension plan.

The selected manager would replace Oechsle International Advisors, which was terminated at the pension fund's Wednesday board meeting. Oechsle, which ran the money in a similar strategy, was terminated for performance, Mr. Kapler said in a telephone interview.

Interested managers can contact Wurts & Associates, Fresno County's investment consultant.

Mr. Kapler said the pension fund is looking for a quick turnaround on a new hire, but there is no fixed timeline for when that will happen.

Oechsle had managed the portfolio since November 2005 and has returned an annualized 0.6% since inception, below the MSCI EAFE benchmark of 1.5%. Oechsle has also underperformed the MSCI EAFE by a range of 40 to 150 basis points in one-year, three-year and five-year returns as of June 30.

Oechsle was placed on watch in March.

Warren Walker, executive managing principal and portfolio manager at Oechsle, did not return a telephone call by press time for comment.