* To focus on co-investments
* Nevada, Indiana have similar programs
* Pensions under pressure to boost economies
By Gregory Roth
NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters-BUYOUTS) - Another state pension
has moved to help its local economy by launching a fund
targeting in-state private equity and venture capital
The latest effort comes from the $40 billion Colorado Public
Employees Retirement Association, the state's biggest pension,
which launched its Colorado Mile High Fund this month. The fund,
which is likely to earmark as much as $50 million to businesses
that are based in or that have a "nexus" in Colorado, will be
managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management's Customized Fund
According to Colorado PERA, the strategy is to invest in
Colorado companies alongside private equity or venture capital
sponsors; in doing so, the state is likely to save on management
and performance fees that it would otherwise have to pay the
sponsors as a direct investor in their funds.
"This is good for Colorado and for PERA," said Jennifer
Paquette, the pension fund's chief investment officer, in a
statement. "Colorado-based companies need an additional source
of funding and, with the creation of the Colorado Mile High
Fund, PERA will use our high investment standards to benefit our
membership and Colorado's economy."
As the U.S. economy continues to struggle, many state
pensions have come under pressure from legislators and chambers
of commerce to use their capital to boost local economies.
Dedicated in-state private equity programs have become a popular
way to help achieve that goal.
Other pensions and endowments that have launched similar
in-state programs include the Indiana Public Retirement System,
which last month announced the creation of a $150 million
program, and the Nevada Permanent School Fund, which chose
advisory firm Hamilton Lane to manage its $50 million Silver
State Opportunity Fund. Other pensions committing to similar
efforts include the California Public Employees' Retirement
System and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.
Colorado PERA has $3.6 billion invested in private equity
and venture capital as of June 30. That amounts to a 9.2 percent
allocation, which is above the system's 7 percent target.
The pension fund provides retirement benefits to nearly
500,000 current and former Colorado state and local employees.