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Ventura County puts 1 firm on watch, takes another off list

Ventura County (Calif.) Employees' Retirement Association put international equity manager Hexavest on watch over performance concerns, said Daniel Gallagher, chief investment officer.

Performance below its benchmark — the MSCI EAFE index — was the basis for those concerns. However, since the strategy's inception in 1991, Hexavest has actually performed better in down markets than up markets, Mr. Gallagher noted. Since 1991, the strategy has outperformed in down markets 93% of the time and outperformed in up markets 47% of the time.

The $5.4 billion pension fund had $92 million invested with Hexavest as of Oct. 31. A spokeswoman for Eaton Vance (EV), which owns a 49% stake in Hexavest, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Separately, the pension fund removed international value equity manager Sprucegrove Investment Management from the watch list because of improved performance. When Sprucegrove was added to the list in 2016, growth was in favor, Mr. Gallagher noted.

As of Oct. 31, the pension fund had $228.8 million invested with Sprucegrove.