BATON ROUGE, La. — The $175 million Louisiana District Attorneys Association Retirement System decided not to make any venture capital commitments "at this time," said Ed Ware, chairman of the board. John Vann, the fund's consultant with Rushmore Investments, "strongly urged" committing $2 million to Louisiana Ventures, but most of the board voted against the commitment after a Nov. 16 presentation from the venture capital firm, expressing concerns about risk, Mr. Ware said.
The board is "continuing to study (venture capital) and will make a decision in the future," said Mr. Ware. The board will likely hear a presentation from the Louisiana Fund, a venture capital fund created by the Louisiana State University Research and Technology Foundation, at the board's Feb. 8 meeting.
Pennsylvania fund trims
Avenue Special Situations IV
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System reduced its commitment to the Avenue Special Situations Fund IV to $115 million from $150 million, according to Evelyn Tatkovski, spokeswoman for the $52 billion pension plan. The board approved the investment earlier this year, but the Avenue fund has since been oversubscribed, said Ms. Tatkovski.
The plan had $4.6 billion, or 9.1% of assets, in alternative investments as of March 31, including $1.1 billion in private debt and $3.1 billion in private equity.
BET founder to start
hedge fund of funds
WASHINGTON — Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and owner of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA basketball team, plans to launch a hedge fund-of-funds firm in a joint venture with Deutsche Asset Management.
The as-yet unnamed venture would be marketed to public and private pension funds and other institutional investors, Mr. Johnson said in a telephone interview. The date for the launch has not been set.
Mr. Johnson's holding company, RLJ Cos., will form the new company with the goal of becoming the largest asset management company owned, controlled and directed by African Americans. Deutsche Asset Management will be a minority investor and provide investment strategies. In addition to hedge fund of funds, the new venture will also offer traditional investment management strategies.
"This whole class of asset management creates a unique opportunity for the kind of skills I can bring," he said. "This fits my strategy and allows me to have a relationship with Deutsche Asset Management as a subadviser, with the infrastructure already in place."
"We can assemble a team of talented individuals who can be competitive in this space," he said. "If you can come up with the right people and the right asset allocation strategy, you can get yields that people are looking for, regardless of your ethnic background."
New Mexico mulls
adding buyout funds
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico State Investment Council's private equity committee will recommend investing $25 million each in buyout funds Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe X and Carlyle Mexico Partners. The committee will discuss the issue at the Santa Fe-based fund's Dec. 27 meeting.
Muirhead Holdings acquires, rebrands Van Hedge Funds
GREENWICH, Conn. — Muirhead Holdings acquired Van Hedge Funds. Terms were not disclosed, said Thomas Whelan, chief executive officer of Van Hedge Funds. The Van funds will be rebranded as Greenwich-Van Funds. Mr. Whelan will remain CEO of the family of five indexed hedge funds of funds, which have slightly less than $100 million in assets. George Farr, chairman of Muirhead, assumed the same title at Van Hedge Funds.
George Van, who founded Van Hedge in 1992, left the firm, Mr. Whelan said. Mr. Van is creating two companies in Nashville, Tenn.: George Van & Co. will provide capital introduction services for hedge funds and investors, and Strategic Services will provide strategic and consulting advice to institutional money managers interested in hedge funds.
Illinois SURS trims 2
core REIT portfolios
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois State Universities Retirement System reduced the core REIT portfolios of RREEF and ING Clarion by $50 million each, leaving them with $230 million and $200 million, respectively, said Dan M. Slack, interim executive director of the $13.7 billion system. The reductions were made as part of a rebalancing after their good performance, and the money was moved to cash, Mr. Slack said.