Oregon Investment Council, Tigard, which oversees the $56.9 billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, Salem, hired William Blair to manage about $200 million in emerging markets equities, subject to negotiations.
The firm replaces Axiom International Investors, which was hired to run the portfolio in July; days after the hiring, council officials learned that Luiz Soares, Axiom’s lead portfolio manager, had left the firm.
“The news of Mr. Soares’ departure came as a complete surprise,” according to a staff memo to the council. “It was believed Axiom’s partnership structure and equity participation promoted organizational stability. Without undermining the firm’s investment philosophy, Mr. Soares put his personal stamp on the portfolio, and we believe he had a material impact on the performance of the product.”
Separately, the council also committed $150 million to Global Infrastructure Partners II LP and $100 million to AQR Delta Fund, said James Sinks, council spokesman. Both are pending successful contract negotiations.
In January, the council created an alternatives portfolio that would hold 5% of the fund’s total assets, with 80% real assets and 20% real return. AQR, a multistrategy absolute-return hedge fund, is the first anchor investment for the real return portion of the new alternatives portfolio, according to materials for the council’s Sept. 28 meeting.