Maryland Pension Engages Alternative Investment Consultants

May 6, 2010 ( - The Maryland State Retirement Agency (SRA) today announced that it has signed two new five-year contracts with consultants to help it manage its alternative investment activities.

According to a press release, SRA has awarded a real estate consultant contract to Pension Consulting Alliance, Inc. of Portland, Oregon, effective as of May 1, 2010.  The incumbent, PCA Real Estate Advisors, Inc., an affiliate of Partners Group in Switzerland, chose not to re-bid for the contract with SRA. 

“We are in the midst of evaluating our real estate investment strategy and look forward to PCA becoming a strategic partner in the future development of our real estate investment program”, said Mansco Perry, III,  Chief  Investment Officer.   The Agency has a 10%  target allocation to its real estate portfolio, which includes public REITS, private funds, and direct holdings.

The State Retirement Agency also has signed a contract with Altius Associates, the incumbent private equity consultant, who has served in that role with the agency since 2004.  SRA has a target allocation of 12% to private equity.  According to the announcement, Altius will also assist the System’s investment staff in analyzing private market opportunities in its real return and credit strategies asset classes. Perry noted, “Altius has been a strong and supportive partner for us as we have developed our private equity program.  We are extremely happy that Altius will be assisting us as we move forward.”  The Altius contract is also effective as of May 1,2010.

Both engagements are to assist the Agency’s Investment Staff in the identification, evaluation, and monitoring the Agency’s alternative investment activities.  Both contracts have two, one-year renewal options. 

The Maryland Retirement System ended the third quarter on March 31, 2010 with a value of $33.7 billion.