R.I. Pension Is The Undeperforming Investment For A Year

By klaireaustria

Nov 26, 2016 08:39 AM EST

The private equity firm, Point Judith Capital, co-founded by Governor Gina Raimondo before she entered politics, is holding on to an underperforming Rhode Island pension system investment at least one year longer than anticipated, according to General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

Point Judith this week notified the state treasury that it intends to exercise the first of two, one-year options on the state's $5-million investment, Magaziner spokesman Evan England said.

The pension fund made the investment in Point Judith Venture Fund II in 2007, a year after the fund launched, while Raimondo was a Point Judith general, four years before she ran for treasurer.

The investment, made under the oversight of then-treasurer Frank Caprio, was scheduled to mature at the end of this year, but included two options to be exercised at Point Judith's discretion, according to contract language provided by Magaziner's office.

The state's investment in Point Judith, and a separate investment by the Providence pension system, was a major campaign issue when Raimondo, after one term as state treasurer, ran for governor in 2014.

Democratic primary opponent Angel Taveras, who was Providence mayor at the time, released terms of the city's separate $1-million investment with Point Judith and filed a public records request for the state's agreement, but Raimondo declined to make it public, citing a confidentiality clause.

Magaziner has continued that policy, but provided the Journal the text of the option clause, because he said it was common in private equity investments and did not represent a trade secret.

The pension's Point Judith investment has not performed as well as either the state or the venture capital firm would have hoped.

When fees are included, the state's investment posted a negative 2.5-percent return through June 30, according to the most recent performance figures from the treasury.

The pension system has paid $5,991,513 into Venture Fund II (including fees and other expenses), received $2,085,239 back in disbursements and owns assets now valued at $3,225,362. Assuming the assets are worth that amount, that would give the state a $680,912 loss from the investment as of June.

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