New York State Common Retirement Fund to invest in African energy projects

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New York State Common Retirement Fund to invest in African energy projects

Vicki Fuller, the Chief Investment Officer of the New York State Common Retirement Fund has announced plans to invest as much as 3% of the fund's assets in Africa in the next five years.

The fund currently has about US$180 billion in assets whereby the total planned investment in Africa would be approximately US$5.4 billion. With this move the fund aims to diversify its portfolio and boost returns. The fund plans to invest in private-equity firms, venture capital, real estate and new infrastructure projects such as power plants.

According to sources, the fund will commit about US$100 million to companies that manage over US$500 million in assets and invest smaller companies and new funds through a fund of funds manager. It also plans to partner with pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds to provide financing for large infrastructure projects in Africa.

Ms. Fuller stated:

“I want to invest in the people who are local, understand the culture, understand on a very granular basis what’s happening.”

The fund has invested about US$200 million in Africa, most of them was committed during the last year to Helios Investment Partners and African Capital Alliance, two private-equity firms.

The objective of the fund, which is the third largest public pension fund in the US, is to achieve long-term growth, while meeting the cash flow needs to pay benefits to the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS)’s 422,405 retirees and beneficiaries and to meet the needs of future retirees.

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