Mercer picks up portfolio from Norwegian endowment

The Norwegian Church endowment sold its entire stake in Capital Dynamics' 2010-vintage secondaries fund as it discontinues its private equity investments.

Mercer Investment Management has acquired a portfolio of private equity stakes from Opplysningsvesenets Fond, the endowment of the Norwegian church, as part of the endowment’s decision to stop investing in the asset class.

The deal included Opplysningsvesenets’s entire interest in Capital Dynamics’ 2010-vintage secondaries fund, according to a UK regulatory filing.

“[Opplysningsvesenets] have changed our investment strategy, and decided to leave private equity,” Jon Gunnar Solli, the endowment’s chief financial officer and chief investment officer, wrote in an email to Secondaries Investor. The endowment had previously stated in its 2014 Annual Report that it had begun discontinuing parts of its portfolio, including private equity holdings, resulting in a reduction in risk.

The size of the portfolio sale to Mercer was not clear.

In June 2014, Opplysningsvesenets had allocated about 6 percent of total investments to private equity, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

St Louis-based Mercer used its Mercer Private Investment Partners III fund to acquire the endowment’s interest in Capital Dynamics Global Secondaries III, a $277 million vehicle that is backed by investors including Greater Manchester Pension Fund, Lancashire County Pension Fund and the University of Arizona, according to PEI data.

Capital Dynamics Global Secondaries III had delivered a 1.4x net multiple as of March 2015, according to data from private equity fund marketplace Palico.

Opplysningsvesenets had commitments to 15 private equity funds at the end of 2014, including stakes in CS Strategic Partners Offs Fd IV Shrs Class B, Pantheon USA Fund IX and Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, according to the 2014 Annual Report.

Opplysningsvesenets holds assets across agriculture, forestry, real estate and finance, among others, which date back to the Middle Ages, according to its website. The endowment’s assets had a total value of NOK 2.8 billion ($323 million; €297 million) as of 31 December 2014.

Endowments and foundations accounted for 8 percent of sellers by volume last year, according to a report by Evercore.

Mercer Investment Management is an investment arm of Mercer and manages various funds across fixed income, credit, private equity, and real asset investments, according to PEI data.

Mercer declined to comment. Capital Dynamics did not return requests for comment.