Searches and Hires

Illinois Municipal earmarks $135 million for ABRY, Versant funds

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Oak Brook, committed up $75 million to special situations credit fund ABRY Advanced Securities Fund IV and a total of up to $60 million to two Versant Venture Management venture capital funds.

The ABRY fund, managed by ABRY Partners, focuses on media and information and business services investments, according to a presentation to the board by Dhvani Shah, chief investment officer of the $41.3 billion pension fund. Illinois Municipal previously invested a total of $143 million in 12 ABRY funds, either directly or through private equity separate account managers Pantheon Ventures and Abbott Capital Management.

Versant will run up to $40 million in Versant Ventures Fund VII, an early stage biotech strategy, and up to $20 million to Versant Medical Technology Fund I, which targets mid- to late-stage medical technology companies. IMRF previously committed a combined $50 million to three other Versant funds.

The pension fund has a 7% target allocation to alternative investments; its actual allocation as of June 30 was 3.9%.

Separately, the board approved moving $136 million to an Ativo Capital Management developed markets and Canada equity strategy, from Ativo's U.S. microcap strategy. IMRF is making the move to cut its overweight exposure to U.S. equities and also because the developed markets fund has lower fees than the microcap portfolio.

Also approved was a transfer of $115 million to a private debt separately managed account run by Crescent Capital Group from Crescent's high-income commingled tactical allocation strategy. Pension fund investment staff wanted to focus on private debt rather than the high-income fund's broader investments that include senior bank loans and high-yield bonds along with private debt. According to Ms. Shah's report, Crescent has been "challenged" to tactically allocate across the three strategies, plus fees will be lower for the private debt portfolio.

The commitments and portfolio shifts are all contingent on the completion of successful contract negotiations.

As of June 30, IMRF had 43.8% of total assets in domestic equity, 19.7% in international equity and 26.4% in fixed income. Targets for the three allocations are 37%, 18% and 28%, respectively.