IFM, GIP win in $450m Virginia pension commitment

The Virginia Retirement System has invested $450m with Industry Funds Management and Global Infrastructure Partners. The commitment is the second-largest by a US pension fund in 2012.

Virginia Retirement System (VRS), a US pension, has made a major infrastructure allocation, investing $300 million with Industry Funds Management (IFM) while putting $150 million in Global Infrastructure Partners II (GIP II), Infrastructure Investor has learned.

The total $450 million commitment put VRS on a par with CalSTRS as a US institutional limited partner (LP) with a large-scale fund-based allocation to infrastructure. In February CalSTRS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, invested $500 million with IFM. The CalSTRS investment marked the largest-ever allocation to infrastructure by a US pension fund.

VRS, which ended its fiscal 2012 in August, listed its $4.3 billion real asset portfolio as its best-performing asset class, returning 11.9 percent, followed by private equity, which gained 10.9 percent. The retirement system, administrator to $53 billion, gained 1.4 percent overall.

Ronald Schmitz, chief investment officer (CIO) for VRS in Richmond, Virginia, directed Infrastructure Investor to media director Jeanne Chenault. Chenault did not respond to a voicemail message.

For IFM, VRS is its second high-profile US pension fund client win in 2012. Australia-headquartered IFM is investment manager to $35 billion, $10 billion of which is dedicated to infrastructure. A US spokeswoman for IFM could not provide a comment by press time.

GIP II, managed by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), is also gaining market share stateside. In addition to VRS, the fund has hauled in a $75 million commitment from the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS), which had a standing $75 million investment with Global Infrastructure Partners I.

GIP II is the largest infrastructure fund to date with $7.5 billion in capital.