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$800MM: TCRS releases state private equity guidelines
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Lamar Villere TCRS PE Director

Investment guidelines have been released for investment of $800 million or more from $27 billion in assets of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System.

TCRS Director of Private Equity Lamar Villere developed the guidelines with Strategic Investment Solutions, one of TCRS's outside advisors.

The protocols, keenly awaited by officers of Tennessee's venture capital and private-equity firms, were recently approved by State Treasurer David Lillard and his chief investment officer, Michael Brakebill.

In April, Villere told a gathering of VC executives the state would begin investing at $300MM-or-greater pace annually, during the second half of this calendar year.

A second state intiative has been running on a somewhat parallel track: As previously reported, the General Assembly last week passed and sent to Gov. Phil Bredesen a proposed new law creating a half-dozen or so Tennessee investment companies that will participate in a new Tennessee Small Business Investment Company Credit Act program.

As previously reported by VNC, executives with many of the state's native VC firms have expressed concern in the past year that they might be crowded-out by larger funds that may argue, for example, they operate more efficiently, due to scale.  State officials have repeatedly stressed that instate VCs will compete for fund-management roles on an level playing-field, but without instate preferences based on nonfinancial factors.

The guidelines (pdf copy here) span TCRS review of partnership agreements; performance expectations; investment review (including "strategic fit" of a given investment); due diligence; investment monitoring; co-investment; capital calls; profit sharing; coordination with TCRS public-equity and fixed-income program managers; and, a seeming myriad of other details.

Villere's role, and possibly that of any additional staff he might have reporting to him, includes close communication with fund general partners – including, time permitting, attending partnership meetings and participating on fund advisory boards, in addition to ongoing outreach.

Villere joined TCRS in January, after serving senior alternative investments officer for the $39.7 billion Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS). There, he oversaw both the private equity and absolute return portfolios. Villere was TRS' domestic equities investment officer, 2005-2007.

Earlier, he was a vice president and equity analyst at Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc., as well as a financial analyst at both HCFP Brenner Securities and at Deutsche Asset Management.

In addition to his Owen GSM master's, Villere holds a bachelor’s from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Tags: David Lillard, Lamar Villere, Michael Brakebill, private equity, Strategic Investment Solutions, TCRS, Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, Tennessee investment companies, Tennessee Small Business Investment Company Credit Act, TNinvestcos, TNSBICCA, venture capital

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