Maine Makes Alternatives A Priority

Jun 11 2008 | 2:00am ET

The alternatives space is on the mind of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Andrew Sawyer, chief investment officer of the $11 billion pension fund, is pushing for a 20% allocation to the space, which includes hedge funds, private equity, real estate commodities and real assets.

Sawyer said the fund currently has exposure to real estate and a “very small” exposure to infrastructure private equity, but wants to expand into hedge funds and p.e. for the sake of diversification and return enhancement.

“At this point we’re considering it, but a lot of public funds take a considerable amount of time to make decisions because there are a lot of issues on the table,” cautioned Sawyer. “I can’t even give you the probability of the board recommending the allocation.”

Alternatives will be discussed at the next board meeting, set for Thursday. 
 
Sawyer added that no matter what the board decides, there will be some allocation to funds of hedge funds and private equity funds.

“We’ve got a number of implementation ideas in mind depending on the amount of internal versus external investment expertise the board is comfortable with,” he said. “We could outsource the entire business or build a staff and do it all internally.”

The fund is advised by Ennis Knupp + Associates.


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