New York Common Fund Commits $200 Million to Urban Real Estate


The New York Common Retirement Fund has committed $200 million to a fund that invests in real estate in New York City, Los Angeles and other urban areas.

More from IPE Real Estate:

The fund has backed CIM Group’s Fund VIII, which is targeting established US urban areas.

The fund invests in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, focusing on equity, preferred equity and mezzanine transactions between $10m and $250m.

Direct investments, mortgage debt, workouts, public/private partnerships and operating real estate businesses are being targeted.

CIM Group, which was given a $225m commitment for its Fund III by New York Common in 2007, is targeting $2bn for Fund VIII.

New York Common said it made the investment on the back of high returns with prior funds with the manager.

The investor has pegged the current investment at $311m.

CIM has previously distributed $40.1m back to the pension fund.


CIM is co-investing 5% of total commitments to the fund, with a cap of $20m.

The manager will make around 30 to 40 deals.

Limited partners in the fund are projected to achieve a gross 20% IRR, with a 2x equity multiple.

Leverage will not exceed 75%.

The New York Common Retirement Fund manages about $177 billion in assets.


Photo by Tim (Timothy) Pearce via Flickr CC License

Professor: Pension Funds Need To Rethink Manager Selection

Wall Street

A few hours after news broke of CalPERS cutting ties with hedge funds entirely, one anonymous hedge fund manager opined: “I think it’s not hedge funds as an asset class [that are underperforming]. It’s the ones they invest in.”

But was it really manager selection that was the root cause of CalPERS’ disappointment with hedge funds?   Dr. Linus Wilson, a professor of finance at the University of Louisiana, thinks so.

Particularly, he thinks pension funds are ignoring data that suggests newer, smaller managers perform better than the older, larger hedge funds that pension funds typically prefer. He writes:

CalPERS and other institutional investors such as pensions, endowments, and sovereign wealth funds have ignored the wealth of data suggesting that their manager selection criteria is fatally flawed. Hedge Fund Intelligence estimates that on average hedge funds have returned 3.7% year to date. Yet the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) has returned over 8% over that period.

Most institutions and their consultants implicitly or explicitly limit their manager selection criteria to hedge funds with a multi-year track record (three years or more) and assets under management in excess of $250 million. The AUM screen is probably higher; $1 billion or more. Unfortunately, all the evidence shows that choosing hedge funds with long track records and big AUM is exactly the way to be rewarded sub-par returns.

A recent study by eVestment found that the best absolute and risk-adjusted returns came from young (10 to 23 months of performance) and small (AUM of less than $250 million) hedge funds. My anecdotal evidence is consistent with this fact. My young and small fund, Oxriver Captial, organized under the new JOBS Act regulations, is outperforming the bigger more established funds.

More data on the performance of newer hedge funds:

One study eventually published in the top-tier academic journal, the Journal of Financial Economics, found that, for every year a hedge fund is open, its performance declines by 0.42%. The implication is that hedge fund investors should be gravitating to the new managers if they want high returns. Yet another study by Prequin found that even when established managers launch new funds, those funds underperform launches by new managers.

The Prequin study found that managers with three years or less of track record outperformed older managers in all but one of seven strategy category. The median strategy had the new managers beating the older ones by 1.92% per annum. Yet, that same study found that almost half of institutional investors would not consider investing in a manager with less than three years of returns.

Pension funds have repeatedly justified forays into hedge funds by pointing out the potential for big returns, as well as the portfolio diversification hedge funds offer.

Dr. Wilson doesn’t deny those points. But to truly take advantage of hedge funds, he says, pension funds need to rethink their approach to manager selection. That means investments in smaller, newer hedge funds.

Is There A Major Problem With the Endowment Model?

Harvard winter

Over at Institutional Investor, Ashby Monk has posted a thought-provoking piece on the university endowment model and its shortfalls. An excerpt:

The endowment investment model, which is widespread among university endowments (hence the name), is often flagged as the best-in-class framework for long-term investors. This is an approach to institutional investment that is almost entirely outsourced and seeks to generate high returns through an aggressive orientation toward private equity and other alternative assets. In 2013 the average U.S. endowment had an allocation to alternatives of 47 percent, down from the previous year’s peak of 54 percent but still much higher than a decade before.

The model was pioneered by David Swensen, chief investment officer at Yale University, through the investment policies he implemented at the school’s endowment. Using this model, Swensen managed to generate a remarkable 15 percent internal rate of return over a 20-year stretch leading up to 2007. Because of Yale’s wild success, the endowment model was copied by hundreds (and probably thousands) of other endowments and institutional investors around the world. Although the model remains popular today, some institutional investors now see it as being at odds with long-term investing and perhaps even damaging to the long-term investment challenge.

Here’s why: The success or failure of this model seems to be based on access to top-­performing managers, as endowments believe that certain managers can and do deliver alpha (returns above a market benchmark). The institutions that have privileged access to top managers see themselves as lucky passengers on an investment return rocket ship powered by hedge funds, private equity firms and other alternative managers.

So most (though not all) endowments won’t do anything to rock the boat with these managers. Thanks to this fear of restricted access, the asset managers would seem to hold the power to discipline and influence asset owners. It’s for this reason that many university endowments are more secretive than the most-secretive sovereign wealth funds. They are protecting their external asset managers from scrutiny. In addition, they are protecting themselves from having to inform their stakeholders about how much they are paying in fees (if they even know what they’re paying managers).

And therein lies a fundamental problem with the endowment model: The agents seem to be in charge of the principals.

Read the full piece here.


Photo by Chaval Brasil