U.K. Pension Backs Troubled PAAMCo

Nov 15 2010 | 10:51am ET

A British pension fund has given embattled fund of hedge funds Pacific Alternative Asset Management Co. a much-needed vote of confidence.

The Merseyside Pension Fund has finalized its hire of PAAMCo, handing it the £25 million it awarded the firm four months ago, Pensions & Investments reports. But the hire was postponed as the Liverpool pension undertook further due diligence to look into PAAMCo’s ownership situation, which was complicated by an August ruling awarding Paloma Partners’ S. Donald Sussman a 40% stake in the fund of funds’ parent company.

The judge in that case, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, wrote in his ruling that PAAMCo’s structuring of Sussman’s investment in the firm “may have been designed to mislead” about its women-owned status. PAAMCo denies that allegation but has chosen not to appeal Sullivan’s decision.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also launched an investigation into PAAMCo’s ownership structure, and the hullaballoo has already scared off at least one investor. But following its own investigation, the Merseyside Pension was anything but scared off: It plans to triple PAAMCo’s mandate to £75 million.

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