The board of the $10.3 billion Arkansas Public Employees' Retirement System on Nov. 15 approved a commitment to alternative real estate firm Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and hired William Blair to manage a U.S. growth equity mandate.
The board of the Little Rock-based pension fund approved a $50 million commitment to Harrison Street Real Estate Fund IX, with trustees noting that the firm's team will focus on segments such as student housing and storage as opposed to office properties.
APERS currently has $44.5 million invested in Harrison Street Fund VIII.
The board likewise voted to hire William Blair to manage roughly $400 million in active U.S. growth equities, confirmed Amy Fecher, the fund's executive director, in an email.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management and T. Rowe Price were the other finalists for the growth equities search.
William Blair replaces INTECH, a quantitative equity firm which the fund terminated earlier this year, citing weak performance.
Trustees, discussing the decision to select William Blair, said the firm appeared to offer APERS the strongest prospects of delivering consistent returns as opposed to fielding a portfolio subject to momentum swings, with dominant weightings in the "Magnificent Seven" growth companies such as Apple and Microsoft.
According to data provided by APERS' investment consultant, Callan, the William Blair strategy is relatively concentrated, with 33 holdings vs. 69 for J.P. Morgan and 52 for T. Rowe Price.
The benchmark for the mandate is the Russell 1000 Growth index.