Updated on March 11
Jeffrey Ennis resigned as chief investment officer of Wilshire Private Markets, confirmed a spokesman for the private equity fund-of-funds management firm.
Mr. Ennis is the latest executive to leave Wilshire Private Markets. Laurie Coggan, who was CFO, resigned in June and is now doing independent consulting. A month later, Dan Allen, senior managing director, left in July and has since been named director of global equities at Los Angeles Capital Management.
The firm on June 29 hired Kevin Nee as president of Wilshire Private Markets. Before then, Wilshire had been run by a committee of three executives: Messrs. Ennis and Allen and Ovidio Iglesias, senior managing director.
“Over the past year, we have been implementing our strategic plan which includes the further integration of the Private Markets Group into Wilshire to create deeper synergies and benefits for our clients by leveraging the considerable intellectual capital of our four divisions,” said Dennis A. Tito, Wilshire Associates chairman and CEO, in an e-mail response to inquiries.
“The first phase of this integration was naming Kevin Nee as president of the Private Markets Group last June. With Kevin's extensive investment expertise, and our deep operational, legal and due diligence resources, we are confident in our ability to continue to provide significant value to our clients as we continue to implement our plan.”
Messrs. Ennis and Allen have not been replaced. The spokesman declined to say whether the departures triggered key-man provisions citing the confidentiality of the limited partnership agreements.
Wilshire is postponing fundraising until 2011; it had been scheduled to start in the second half of this year, according to a March 8 report to the investment committee of the £1.1 billion ($1.6 billion) Suffolk County Council Pension Fund, Ipswich, England, by Peter Edwards, the plan's corporate finance manager.
Parent Wilshire Associates will no longer be taking one-third of the income from Wilshire Private Markets, which will retain all of the profits “for a limited period in order to provide additional incentives to retain and attract investment professionals,” according to Mr. Edwards' report.
“This is an indication of a recognition by Wilshire that they need to rebuild their investment team before they can come back to the market,” Mr. Edwards' report noted. Suffolk committed £52 million to a range of Wilshire funds. Consultant Hymans Robertson did not recommend a change to Wilshire's mandate.
Efforts to reach Mr. Ennis were unsuccessful.