Maine Public Employees Retirement System board, Augusta, on Thursday authorized the $10.8 billion plan’s investment team to make commitments of up to $30 million apiece to the H.I.G. Growth Buyouts & Equity Fund II, the Oaktree European Principal Fund III and the Berkshire Partners Fund VIII, confirmed Andrew H. Sawyer, chief investment officer.
H.I.G. and Berkshire Partners are middle-market buyout funds; and Oaktree is a distressed debt private equity fund.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Sawyer said his team will move forward, pending legal reviews and final due diligence.
The fund has made previous commitments to H.I.G and Oaktree. Investment consultant Cliffwater assisted the investment team in the process, which resulted in H.I.G., Oaktree and Berkshire being recommended for the board’s consideration.
Mr. Sawyer said the latest approvals by the board are in line with its June 2008 decision to target an allocation of 5% of the fund to private equity. Prior to this week’s authorizations, the system had made commitments of more than 3% of its portfolio to private equity investments. The amount currently invested stands at 0.5%.
Funding for the latest commitments will come from trimming the fund’s exposure to public markets, “where we’re overweight,” Mr. Sawyer said.