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State pension fund adds $30 million for investments in New York companies

by jmaloni


Tue, Mar 31st 2015 01:40 pm

In-state investments have returned $293 million to pension fund

The New York State Common Retirement Fund has committed an additional $30 million to Primary Venture Partners to invest in state-based companies, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced Monday. The commitment will be made through the pension fund's in-state private equity investment program, designed to make profitable investments in companies located in New York. This is the state pension fund's third commitment to Primary Venture Partners.

"This new commitment to Primary Venture Partners for state-based investments will help grow the pension fund and expand businesses and jobs across New York state," DiNapoli said. "With $293 million in returns from 71 exited companies, I am proud of how well the in-state program is performing. As trustee of the state pension fund, I'm committed to seeking out profitable investment opportunities for the retirement system's members, retirees and beneficiaries."

Primary Venture Partners, formerly known as High Peaks Venture Partners, is an early-stage venture capital firm. The pension fund made previous commitments to the firm in 2010 for $15 million and in 2003 for $27 million through the in-state program.

Primary Venture Partners has overseen the pension fund's state-based investments in 42 companies, including Vnomics, a fleet management software company located near Rochester, and FieldLens, a construction industry mobile and Web application developer located in New York City.

The pension fund has invested $786 million in 298 companies and has supported nearly 4,000 jobs across the state through the in-state program. To date, the program has returned a total of $293 million to the pension fund. There is $467 million available for new investments.

DiNapoli is trustee of the $176.8 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third-largest public pension plan in the U.S., with more than 1 million members, retirees and beneficiaries from more than 3,000 state and local government employers.

The fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments and has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation. Over the past 20 years, 80 percent of the cost of benefit payments has been funded by investment returns. The fund's fiscal year ends March 31.

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