Friday, May 22, 2009

LASERS cuts ties with equity firm

The Louisiana State Employees Retirement System is ending its relationship with a firm under investigation in several states for an alleged kickback scheme.

LASERS has about $125 million invested with Dallas-based Aldus Equity Partners. Aldus founder Saul Meyer faces criminal and civil charges in New York for reportedly paying for access to invest public retirement funds.

Law enforcement officials in several states are investigating Aldus, and the states of Connecticut and New Mexico has taken away their investments, the Wall Street Journal reports. LASERS has its money in two private equity funds that Aldus controls, including about $70 million with Louisiana private investments.

Bobby Beale, LASERS chief investment officer, says it will take about 90 days to transfer the money from Aldus. The state is looking at getting other private equity firms to manage the investment. LASERS officials note they hired Aldus after a public search process and did not go through any third-party placement firms.

In a statement, LASERS Executive Director Cynthia Rougeou says Aldus did not engage in any improper contact in connection with its work with the state.

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