Virginia Retirement System commits $710 million

Virginia Retirement System, Richmond, committed $710 million to private equity and real assets in June and July. The allocations were reported at Tuesday's board meeting.

Officials at the $68.1 billion pension fund committed $250 million to global growth equity fund TA XII, managed by TA Associates, to invest in middle-market companies, and $125 million to Audax Private Equity Fund V, a buyout fund focused on middle and lower markets managed by Audax Group. The pension fund also committed $100 million to two Clearlake Capital Group funds, with $80 million for Clearlake Capital Partners IV, a fund investing in distressed and special opportunities, and $20 million to Clearlake Opportunities Partners, a fund investing in senior debt, stressed high yield or senior equity in the U.S.

It is the first time the pension fund has committed to Audax and Clearlake.

In real assets, Virginia committed $100 million to Westbrook Real Estate Fund X, a global enhanced core real estate fund managed by Westbrook Partners, and another $135 million to Carson/VA Industrial J/V II, an existing joint venture with Carson Cos. investing in industrial warehouse properties.

The VRS board also approved an investment beliefs statement, which will help guide board members beginning in 2016. The 13 investment beliefs will provide a high-level framework for making strategic investment decisions and will give them “a better understanding of what the stakeholders believe” about investment objectives, including balancing risk and returns, said board Chairman Robert L. Greene in an interview. “It's a tool for understanding the baseline.”

One of the beliefs is for the investment staff and board members to be open to innovative investment approaches and strategies. Another stresses diversification of investments and focuses on fixed income as the “primary diversifier.”

The board worked with consultant Pension Consulting Alliance to develop the beliefs.