LACERA ponders opening a European office

The pension system also recently hired a chief investment officer from the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico.

The Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association is contemplating opening an overseas office and expanding its private equity team, PERE's sister publication, Private Equity International, reported Thursday.

LACERA has begun initial research into establishing a European branch and hiring additional private equity staff, according to materials for its April 12 board of investments meeting.

The pension system also recently hired Jon Grabel from the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico as its chief investment officer, after a near two year vacancy for that role. The April meeting materials showed LACERA expects Grabel to make a final recommendation on the expansion plans.

The pension system began looking internationally for more real estate investments last year, PERE previously reported. At its September board meeting, LACERA said it is seeking to invest 15 percent, or $720 million, of its portfolio internationally by the end of 2018, according to documents from a board meeting last week. The fund invested 5.7 percent of its real estate portfolio outside the US as of the end of 2015.

A LACERA spokesman declined to comment.

Former CIO David Kushner quit in May 2015 after three-and-a-half years to join investment consultant NexTier Consulting Solutions as a senior consulting principal, according to his LinkedIn profile. Since Kushner’s departure, principal investment officer Vache Mahseredjian had been the interim CIO at LACERA, as he is identified in various meeting materials.

LACERA had invested in $6 billion in real estate out of its $47.6 billion portfolio as of June 30, according to the pension system's most recent annual report. The asset class returned 13.2 percent, just beating its 13.1 percent benchmark, for the year ending June 30. The overall portfolio returned 0.8 percent.