Maryland seeks advisor for secondaries sale

The US pension is aiming to sell an unspecified portion of its $5bn in private equity portfolio, which comprises 198 individual positions.

The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, which has around $50 billion in assets under management, is seeking an advisor to help it carry out a secondaries sale.

According to a request for information published on its website, the pension wants the advisor to “help determine which assets to sell, the expected valuation of those assets on the secondary market, the optimal structure for the sale and a go to market strategy that would maximise value”.

The pension gives no specific reason for wanting to sell.

To be considered, an advisor must have at least five years’ experience advising governmental pension plans or similar institutional investors in secondaries sales. It must also have “evaluated, structured, and executed” secondaries sales in excess of $1 billion in value.

Submissions are due on 20 April. It is not clear when an advisor will be chosen.

Maryland has 198 individual private equity holdings valued at $5.7 billion, according to a list of private equity assets attached to the RFI.  Some of its largest holdings are in Apollo IX ($270 million), MD Asia Investors II ($250 million) and Vista Equity Partners VI ($200 million).

It is a regular investor in the secondaries funds of Partners Group, Landmark Partners and Lexington Partners, the document revealed. It has also invested $300 million in Lexington Co-Investment Partners IV, a 2016-vintage side-vehicle.

Maryland is the latest in a succession of US public pensions to seek a secondaries sale in recent months. In January, Secondaries Investor revealed that Alaska Permanent Fund had hired Evercore to help it offload a portfolio of private equity stakes worth around $1 billion.

In February, Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association announced that it was seeking an advisor to help it sell up to $1.4 billion of stakes. The advisor chosen in that process will be announced on 15 June.