Merced County Employees taps Cliffwater as first private equity/hedge fund consultant

Merced County (Calif.) Employees’ Retirement Association hired Cliffwater as its first private equity and hedge fund consultant, said Kristen Santos, retirement plan administrator, in an email.

The $687 million pension fund issued an RFP in February for its first private equity consultant as a result of investment consultant Verus Advisory’s recommendation to increase the private equity target allocation to 9% from 7% following an asset-liability study.

As of Feb. 28, the pension fund's actual allocation to private equity was 5%.

Contract negotiations with Cliffwater will also include hedge fund consulting services, a first for the pension fund as well. As of Feb. 28, the pension fund’s actual allocation to absolute return, consisting of two hedge fund-of-funds portfolios managed by Titan Advisors and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, was 4.1%. The target is 5%.