South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission, Columbia, received an update on the progress of implementing the pension fund's asset allocation, which became effective July 2013.
Hershel Harper Jr., chief investment officer, noted during a webcast of the RSIC's meeting Thursday that global equity changes are largely completed, but his investment staff has about $300 million to put to work in real estate and between $500 million and $600 million each to private equity and private debt strategies. He did not provide a timetable for possible manager searches and hires.
Mr. Harper said commission staffers also are reviewing the entire portfolio with an eye toward reducing the total number of investment mandates — to between 150 and 160 from about 200 — with about 75% of those strategies likely to be in private markets. Another goal is to concentrate allocations to “high-conviction” money managers, reducing the number to between 90 and 100 firms from about 130. He did not provide any hints about what strategies or managers might be affected.
Separately, Hewitt EnnisKnupp, the commission's investment consultant, presented returns for the pension fund and its benchmark for periods ended Sept. 30: three months, -1% (benchmark, -0.8%); one year, 9.4% (benchmark, 9%); three years, 11% (benchmark, 9.9%); and five years, 8.9% (benchmark, 7.9%). Multiyear returns are annualized.
Pension fund assets dropped 2% to $29.2 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, due to $296 million in net benefit payments and $297 million of investment losses, according to documents Mr. Harper provided to commissioners for the meeting.