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Cook County mulls fund-of-funds investment, other changes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Pensions & Investments
by Rick Baert

Cook County Annuity & Benefit Fund’s investment committee on Tuesday recommended the $8.8 billion pension fund commit $35 million to Muller & Monroe Asset Management PEFF II, a private equity fund of funds.

The Chicago-based pension fund previously committed $2 million to Muller & Monroe ILPEFF, a fund of funds targeting Illinois-based investments.

The committed also recommended that about $80 million be added to an active domestic large-cap growth equity portfolio managed by ASB Capital Management, increasing it to $160 million. Funding for the move would come from RhumbLine Advisers’ passive U.S. large-cap growth portfolio, reducing it to $840 million.

Separately, the panel recommended that Thornburg Investment Management be terminated from a $257 million active international equity portfolio because of performance and organizational issues. Kwesi Quaye, investment analyst at the pension fund, said fund officials also were concerned about Thornburg’s “insufficient use” of minority brokers. The assets would be moved to an existing passive international core equity portfolio managed by State Street Global Advisors, raising it to $776 million.

Rebecca Carrier, Thornburg spokeswoman, could not be reached for comment.

The committee also recommended $100 million be added to a Dreyfus passive U.S. core fixed-income portfolio and $82 million be added to an active core fixed-income separate account run by LM Capital Group. Dreyfus will now manage $550 million while LM Capital will run $374 million. Funding will come from reducing a Chicago Equity Partners active domestic core fixed-income strategy, cutting it to $100 million. Mr. Quaye said the pension fund was concerned about the strategy’s “defensive strategy in a rising rate environment.”

The pension fund’s board will consider the recommendations at its Aug. 7 meeting.

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