Is Kurt Summers the Future of Chicago Politics?

Is Kurt Summers the Future of Chicago Politics?

On a cool late-spring evening in the Wild 100s of Chicago, an area on the far South Side known for its gang wars, Kurt Summers Jr. is addressing a small crowd gathered inside a once-gleaming 1920s retail building. There used to be a beauty school here; later the building housed a counseling service and a check cashing store. But even those businesses are gone. This community, built by middle- and working-class Dutch families 15 miles from downtown, never recovered from the closing of the South Chicago steel plants in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, it’s a symbol of violent crime and urban decay.

But to Summers, who grew up on the South Side, violence is only a symptom of the community’s real dilemma. “We don’t have a violence problem in Chicago, we have an economic problem in Chicago,” he tells the crowd of about two dozen residents, who applaud in agreement. Normally a deliberate talker, Summers feeds off the crowd, his speech driven by their energy and attention. “It’s like you’re sick and you have a runny nose,” he continues. “Everybody wants to run and give you a tissue for the runny nose but they don’t want to solve the sickness.”

He tells them he wants to focus policymakers’ attention on small businesses, the economic building blocks of any community. As the streetlights turn on outside the half-papered-up storefront windows, he outlines his hopes for an investment fund that will give locally owned businesses the financial help that big banks won’t. He tells them of his efforts in the legislature in Springfield to make Illinois the first state to go after predatory lending to small businesses.

New Initiative Seeks To Increase Use of Diverse-Owned Managers

New Initiative Seeks To Increase Use of Diverse-Owned Managers

A new initiative has been launched that seeks to create a sus- tained campaign to increase the number of institutional assets managed by diverse-owned firms.

The Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) brings together leaders from the corporate, union, foundation and endowment and other sectors with diverse asset managers and other organizations to provide a multi-pronged approach to addressing the issue.

The efforts are led by four co-chairs: Mary Kay Henry, inter- national president of Service Employees International Union; Alberto Ibargüen, president and ceo of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; John W. Rogers Jr., chairman, ceo and cio of Ariel Investments; and William A. Von Hoene, Jr., senior executive v.p. and chief strategy officer of Exelon Corporation; and are coordinated by The Raben Group, a minority-owned lobbying and consulting firm. 

Whiteout

Whiteout

It’s a classic story. Sháka Rasheed grew up in inner city Miami—tough neighborhood, violent city, single mother. Both his cousin and good friend were shot while he was in middle school. There is a well-trodden path for young black men in poor urban America. Rasheed was on it. But then in seventh grade, Mr. Johnson, his science teacher, pulled him aside one day after class. “You are making excellent grades in spite of yourself,” the teacher told him. It was enough. Five years later, Rasheed graduated high school with high honors, president of the class of 1989. Morehouse College followed, and later, Harvard Business School. He’s now a managing director and head alternatives at Lazard Asset Management.

But Rasheed’s story is no classic: He works in asset management.  

Nearly 90% of senior money managers in the US are white. African Americans make up 12% of the nation’s workforce, and but hold 1% of top investment roles. The same story goes for Hispanic and Latino populations, which account for 16% of the overall job market and 2% of high-level investors. Women represent 47% of the workforce, and 18% of asset managers. Serve your country in the military, and your chances of finding employment in financial services drops by about 30%. For people with disabilities, their likelihood falls by roughly 13%. Those who see asset management as a true meritocracy have either failed to consider the next step in their logic, or—more alarmingly—they have considered it.  

North Carolina Launches Emerging Manager Program

North Carolina Retirement Systems, Raleigh, launched a $500 million emerging managers program with commitments to two manager-of-manager firms.The two firms, FIS Group of Philadelphia and Leading Edge Investment Advisors of San Francisco, will get $150 million each this year for equity investment from the $78.1 billion system. More money will be committed as the program matures.

NYC Comptroller Announces NYC Pension Funds Plan To Invest $1 Billion With Emerging Managers

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer plans to invest $1 billion with Emerging Managers interested in doing business with New York City’s five pension funds, which would bring the total amount invested with Emerging Managers to more than $14 billion, including nearly $10 billion committed to Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Enterprises (M/WBEs). With this allocation, and subject to Trustees’ approval, the pension funds would have Emerging Manager investments in each of its major asset classes.

“The plan to allocate $1 billion to Emerging Managers is a major investment in diversifying our roster of investment managers and improving the risk-adjusted returns of the pension funds,” Comptroller Stringer said. “The Funds are constantly on the lookout for the most talented investment managers in the world. Today we are saying that our doors are open to those firms that can demonstrate to us that they have what it takes to grow our pension funds.”

NYTimes: A Private Equity Titan With a Narrow Focus and Broad Aims

NYTimes: A Private Equity Titan With a Narrow Focus and Broad Aims

One of the best-performing private equity firms of the last 15 years doesn’t have a big name like K.K.R., Blackstone or TPG.

But Vista Equity Partners, a firm with $8 billion under management that deals exclusively in the unglamorous business of enterprise software, has managed to beat the titans of private equity at their own game.

Much of Vista’s success can be traced to the unconventional tactics of its hands-on chief executive, Robert F. Smith, who has delivered investors a staggering 31 percent average annual rate of return since co-founding Vista in 2000.

Preqin, a consulting firm that tracks the industry, reports that Vista’s third fund returned $2.46 for every dollar invested, better than every other big fund raised between 2006 and 2010, the boom years for private equity.

Allstate Launches Emerging Manager Program

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) today announced the launch of its first emerging manager program to invest with smaller private equity and private real estate equity asset managers, with a focus on  minority- and women-owned firms.

"We believe Allstate is leading the insurance industry in establishing this emerging manager investment program," said Edgar Alvarado, Allstate's group head of real estate equity. "We see this program as our farm team – a way to identify the next generation of investment stars, break down the high barriers to entry for these talented managers, and have Allstate be a catalyst in the success of emerging managers. Just as important, Allstate expects its socially responsible investments to achieve strong returns – we truly can say we do well by being a force for good."

CalPERS to Allocate Additional $200 Million to Private Equity Emerging Investment Manager Program

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced that it will allocate an additional $200 million to its emerging manager program in the Private Equity asset class. CalPERS will utilize a new fund-of-funds to deploy the capital, focusing on high-potential emerging manager funds.

“This new allocation is a reflection of CalPERS ongoing commitment to emerging and diverse managers,” said Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS Interim Chief Investment Officer. “Our goal is to generate appropriate, risk-adjusted investment returns by identifying early stage funds with strong potential for success.”

The new allocation will be deployed over four years and is in addition to a $100 million commitment made in 2012. The selection of a manager to head the fund-of-funds will be completed by CalPERS investment staff later in the year.

NYSCRF Announces $250 Million for Farol Advisors

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) has allocated $250 million to Farol Investment Advisers for private equity co-investments with the Fund’s emerging managers program. The announcement came as DiNapoli hosted the sixth annual emerging manager conference in Albany, New York.

"I am pleased that Farol Investment Advisers will oversee the Fund’s new private equity co-investment allocation earmarked for emerging managers," DiNapoli said. "The emerging manager program diversifies the Fund’s portfolio by accessing an often overlooked pool of skilled investors including minority- and women-owned firms.”