NYSCRF Pledges To Mezz Fund, Emerging Manager

The $116.5 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund announced two pledges to private equity in late July, one to a mezzanine fund and one to an emerging manager that invests in community banks.

The limited partner re-upped with Falcon Investment Advisors through a $50 million pledge to Falcon Strategic Partners III. The firm seeks $800 million to make mezzanine investments in the lower middle market, providing slugs of $10 million to $75 million of capital per deal. Other limited partners in the fund include the Florida State Board of Administration, the New Mexico State Investment Council and the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana. The firm, which was founded in 2000, has offices in Boston and New York.

Falcon Investments is contributing 2 percent of aggregate fund commitments. Other backers for the pool include Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System, which committed $10 million.

The pension fund also spread some money on the West Coast. Debut vehicle Carpenter Community BancFund got a $30 million commitment via the NYSCRF Pioneer Partnership Fund B, which is managed by Parish Capital Advisors as a captive fund within the LP’s emerging manager program, pension fund spokesperson Olayinka Fadahunsi told Buyouts.

Irvine, Calif.-based Carpenter & Co. is seeking $200 million for the fund, with a hard cap of $300 million, to invest in 12 to 15 community banks. The goal of the Carpenter Community BancFund is to support new and growing community banks, half in California and half in other U.S. markets.

New York State Common Retirement Fund’s emerging manager private equity program targets funds of less than $750 million, as well as those owned by women and minority managers. The target allocation for the alternative asset class for the New York State Common Retirement fund is 8 percent. As of March 31, its allocation stood at 9.8 percent.