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Texas TRS commits $325m to infra

The US pension has upped its exposure to the asset class by investing in BIF III and Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund II’s side-car vehicle.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the US state's largest public pension fund, last month approved investments totalling $325 million to two infrastructure funds, a TRS spokesperson told Infrastructure Investor.

Having committed $250 million to Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund II (SIF II) last November, the pension fund has decided to invest an additional $75 million with the New York-based fund manager, this time in SIF II-T, a side-car vehicle. Stonepeak closed SIF II on its $3.5 billion hard cap in January.

TRS also approved a $250 million commitment to BIF III, Brookfield’s latest infrastructure fund. Initially targeting $10 billion with a hard-cap set at $12 billion, the Toronto-based firm raised its hard-cap to $14 billion last month after holding a first close on $11.8 billion.

The commitments come less than two months after the pension fund lost its infrastructure portfolio manager Indu Sambandam. According to TRS, Sambandam stepped down “to pursue other opportunities”. Sambandam, whose job title was investment manager for real assets, had not responded to a request for comment at the time. However, her LinkedIn profile shows her still holding that position.

At the time, TRS was unable to provide any information about a replacement for Sambandam, but on Monday, TRS told Infrastructure Investor that “as of this time, Damon Pitler is handling general infrastructure on an interim basis. Carolyn Hansard continues to handle energy infrastructure.” The pension fund did not comment on whether it is searching for a permanent replacement for Sambandam.

Founded in 1937 in Austin, TRS currently serves nearly 1.5 million members. As of 31 August 2015, its assets under management totalled $128.5 billion. 

According to Infrastructure Investor Research & Analytics and including these latest commitments, TRS has so far invested in a total of 28 infrastructure and energy funds. Its current infrastructure investments are worth $2.28 billion, representing 1.73 percent of the fund’s total AUM. TRS said through a spokesperson it does not have a separate allocation for infrastructure, which is part of its real assets and energy and natural resources portfolio.