CalPERS has sold 80 private equity partnerships with a net asset value of $2.1 billion on the secondary markets, according to a report in Pensions and Investments
Leon G. Shahinian, senior investment officer, alternative investment management group, said in an interview that the $189.9 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, eliminated 60 partnerships from its alternative investment management program in July and August, he said. UBS assisted in the selection and sale of the private equity fund interests. Mr. Shahinian wouldn’t identify the funds or give selling prices. But according to CalPERS’ June 30 Alternative Investment Management Program Fund Performance review, funds missing from the June 30 list that had appeared on a year-end list run the gamut from buyout to venture capital to a few distressed debt funds and include the following: Technology Partners Fund VII, Thomas Weisel Capital Partners LP, Ticonderoga e-Services Fund II, TL Ventures V, Weston Presidio Capital IV, EuclidSR Biotechnology Partners, JPMorgan Partners Global, Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners B, Thomas Weisel Strategic Opportunities, Provender Opportunities Fund II, Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners II, Thomas Weisel Healthcare Ventures, Alta California Partners Fund II, Kohlberg Investors V, OCM Opportunities Fund V, OCM Principal Opportunities Fund III, Paladin Homeland Security Fund, Palomar Ventures III and Belvedere Capital II.
London-based private equity research firm Preqin estimated that funds sold for $2.1 billion in late 2007 in the secondary market — which trades private equity stakes between the pension funds and endowment funds that want to exit or buy. Preqin determined that the net asset value of funds sold equates to 9 percent of CalPERs overall portfolio, and calculates the remaining value of its private equity portfolio at $21.5 billion.
Calpers didn’t confirm Preqin’s calculations. The pension fund said it couldn’t specify how much more it gained from the sale in 2007, when the market was peaking, than if it had tried to sell it today.
But Leon Shahinian, Senior Investment Officer at CalPERS private equity program, said via an email from CalPERS spokesman: “In today’s market, we would have had hundreds of millions in losses.”
The pension fund said that its strategy dated back to late 2005, when its Alternative Investment Management program (AIM) presented a strategic plan to the CalPERS Board to lessen the administrative burden of having so many funds to oversee, and to optimize long-term private equity performance. In 2006, it hired UBS Investment Bank to scrub its private equity portfolio and develop a list to sell. At that time, it had investments in several hundred funds.
The inital sale of the $2.1 billion assets — which were sold in the secondary market and not all in one go — was in the third quarter of 2007, when the Dow was ranging between 13,000 to 14,000.
CalPERS said there were 80 partnerships in this portfolio and 60 different general partnership relationships, diversified over various private equity sectors such as venture capital, distressed, buyouts, etc. Sales were completed in the fourth quarter of 2007.