Ohio PERS hones in on secondaries in H1

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System committed to Ardian Secondary Fund VII and to Strategic Partners' latest real estate fund among others.

Nearly three-quarters of the private equity commitments the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) made in the first half of the year were in secondaries, according to a report from the pension plan.

OPERS, which has $90 billion in assets, committed about $916 million to private equity in the first half of the year, including about $660 million to secondaries.

The Columbus, Ohio-based pension plan committed $300 million to Ardian Secondary Fund VII and $150 million to an Ardian co-investment vehicle, ASF VII East Town Co-Invest, in June. OPERS is an existing investor in Ardian, having previously committed $300 million to ASF VI B, $200 million to co-investment vehicle ASF VI East Town Co-Invest and $48 million to ASF VI Energy in 2013.

Ardian represents OPERS’s largest manager exposure. The pension plan is invested in 12 Ardian funds amounting to $1.9 billion, or 12.3 percent of the portfolio’s total exposure.

In February, OPERS also committed $200 million to Top Tier Investments VII-B, a venture capital fund of funds that also targets secondaries. In March, it increased its commitment to Permal Private Equity Opportunities V by $10 million due to an increase in fund size during the fundraising process.

OPERS plans to make about $1.4 billion in new private equity commitments in 2015.

In real estate, the pension fund committed $200 million to Blackstone’s Strategic Partners Real Estate Fund VI, which focuses on opportunistic real estate secondaries. It was a reup. The fund is anticipated to produce an 18 percent gross return over the life of the fund, according to the OPERS report. The commitment was approved in April and OPERS had already called $22.4 million of the $200 million commitment as of 30 June.

The private market real estate portfolio’s net asset value (NAV) was $8.08 billion at the end of the second quarter. It produced net total returns of 4.55 percent during the second quarter.