People - JULY 28, 2014

MassPRIM considers re-upping with Townsend for consulting services

by Reg Clodfelter

The real estate and timber committee for the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, which manages Massachusetts’ $59.7 billion Pension Reserves Investment Trust, has recommended the selection of The Townsend Group to provide general real estate and timber consulting services for MassPRIM for a three-year term. A vote on the recommendation is expected to be made at MassPRIM’s Aug. 12 board meeting.

Townsend has provided real estate and timber consulting services for MassPRIM for the past three years, but its current contract is set to expire on Aug. 1. An RFP for the position was published in April, and, as the incumbent consultant, Townsend was allowed to reapply for the position. According to board documents, the committee found, “Townsend demonstrated a superior depth of expertise and resources relative to its peers, and its sole focus on real estate and other real assets is advantageous.”

The committee has also recommended that Bard Consulting, Callan Associates, Harvest Capital Partners, Meketa Investment Group, Robert Charles Lesser & Co. and Real Estate Fiduciary Services all be selected to provide project real estate consulting services for MassPRIM. The six firms were selected out of 10 evaluated firms. A final vote on project real estate consultants will presumably be made by the board at the Aug. 12 board meeting.

Roughly 8.9 percent of the Pension Reserves Investment Trust, or $5.3 billion, is dedicated to real estate as of May 31. MassPRIM has a target to the asset class of 10 percent, which would require approximately $680 million of further investment to achieve.

MassPRIM has approximately $2.3 billion — roughly 3.9 percent — of the PRIT invested in timber/natural resources, with a target to the asset class of 4 percent. As a part of its 2014 investment plan, MassPRIM expects to invest more than $1 billion between the two asset classes over the course of the year.

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