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Washington writes $250m real estate ticket

The Washington State Investment Board has made $350m in fresh commitments to private equity and real estate. It has also appointed its chief operator, Theresa Whitmarsh, as acting executive director while the pension looks to replace Joseph Dear, who will become CIO at CalPERS.

The $67.6 billion Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) has committed $250 million to Mexican industrial real estate company, Corporate Properties of America, as a follow-on investment.

Washington State has committed $1 billion to CPA since 2002. CPA has acquired or developed more than 17 million square feet of industrial properties, since 1998. Some of CPA's largest shareholders are US instituational investors.

WSIB also commited $100 million to the private equity fund, Advent Latin American Private Equity Fund V. Advent's fourth Latin American fund closed on $1.3 billion in 2007, which Advent said is the region’s largest private equity fund.

Washington State appointed Theresa Whitmarsh acting executive director until the pension finds a permanent director to replace Joseph Dear. Dear recently left to join the California Public Employees’ Retirement System as chief investment officer. Dear starts his new position in March.

Whitmarsh has been the WSIB’s chief operating officer and has been with the pension since 2003. Before joining the WSIB, Whitmarsh was vice president for a software company. She served as assistant and deputy director for the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, running the industrial insurance fund. She also worked as communications director for a California-based insurance trade association.

The pension has roughly $13 billion committed to private equity and more than $9 billion to real estate.