South Carolina picks new alternatives consultant

Albourne America replaced Aon Hewitt to oversee the $29.7bn retirement system’s investments in real estate, private equity, credit and real assets.

South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC) has chosen Albourne America as its alternatives investment consultant, the pension fund said last week.

The London-based consultant started its five-year contract on August 4 to advise on real estate, private equity, credit and real assets. The contract includes up to five one-year extensions.

Albourne replaced Aon Hewitt Investing Consulting, Columbia, South Carolina-based RSIC’s previous investment consultant across asset classes. In April, RSIC chose Meketa Investment Group as its general investment consultant, which oversees its non-alternative investments like equities and fixed income.

“We chose Albourne because of their impressive breadth of industry expertise, and our admiration for the rigor of their private markets experience and research capability,” RSIC’s chief executive Michael Hitchcock said in a statement.

RSIC managed 6 percent, or $1.78 billion, of its $29.7 billion South Carolina Retirement System portfolio in private real estate, as of March 31, according to its most recent quarterly report. The asset class returned 7.9 percent in the year ending March 31.

In real estate, RSIC most recently committed $100 million to Brookfield’s latest debt vehicle in June, PERE previously reported. Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund V, which has a $3 billion target, is investing in floating-rate, interest-only loans, predominantly targeting mezzanine debt. The commitments are backed by US assets across all asset types with the option to lend up to 20 percent of the capital internationally.

The retirement system had 8.9 percent of its portfolio in private equity, which returned 15.4 percent for the year and 5.9 percent in private debt, which generated a 14.1 percent return for the year ending March 31. RSIC had a total of 17.9 percent of its portfolio in credit, including private debt, mixed credit and emerging markets debt.

RSIC also invested 1 percent of its portfolio in infrastructure as of March 31. The retirement system approved the asset class in February and made its first investment in April to Deutsche Bank’s Global Infrastructure Securities, according to meeting materials.

The retirement system’s overall portfolio returned 11.6 percent for the year ending March 31.