MainePERS moves into real estate secondaries

The US pension has bought a stake in Westbrook Real Estate Fund IX, a 2012-vintage fund.

The Maine Public Employees’ Retirement System (MainePERS) has approved its first real estate secondaries acquisition.

The pension fund last month approved the purchase of a $25 million stake in Westbrook Real Estate Fund IX, a 2012-vintage fund that raised $1.6 billion.

MainePERS declined to comment as to the seller’s identity.

Westbrook closed Fund IX with commitments from investors including the Teacher Retirement System of Texas,  the New York State Teachers Retirement System and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Andrew Sawyer, CIO at MainePERS, told IP & Real Estate magazine, “Our thinking here is that some investors in the commingled fund might need to trade their position in the fund for either being over-allocated to real estate or need some liquidity.”

He added the pension had done secondaries deals for private equity interests in the past. “We think this can also work for real estate.”

MainePERS currently has a 6.4 percent exposure to real estate but aims to have a 10 percent allocation by the end of 2014, according to its website.