March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Barclays Plc’s pension fund is planning to sell about 350 million pounds ($554 million) in private-equity assets, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Barclays Bank U.K. Retirement Fund hired advisory firm Cogent Partners to manage the sale of the portfolio, which comprises commitments in European and U.S. leveraged buyout funds, said the people, who declined to be identified because the process is private. Brenlen Jinkens, a spokesman for Cogent Partners in London, declined to comment.
“As part of our normal asset-management program, we constantly review the balance of our portfolio and this includes our private-equity holdings,” Barclays’s fund said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “Recent changes in the market have seen the development in a secondary market for private-equity holdings. Whilst we are reviewing some of our holdings, this may or may not result in changes to our portfolio.”
Barclays’s pension fund manages about 21 billion pounds in assets for about 250,000 current and former employees of the London-based lender. It joins pension and sovereign wealth funds including California Public Employees’ Retirement System and Government of Singapore Investment Corp. in selling private-equity investments as they cut the number of managers they are willing to invest in following the financial crisis. Banks and insurers including Lloyds Banking Group Plc and Sweden’s Lansforsakringar AB are also selling commitments in the secondary market because tighter regulation will make those assets more expensive to hold.
Lansforsakringar, a group of 23 regional Swedish insurance companies, is planning to sell as much as 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) in private-equity assets, three people with knowledge of the sale said last week. GIC, which manages more than $100 billion of Singapore’s reserves, is seeking to sell about $700 million in private-equity holdings, three people with knowledge of the matter said in January.
Buyers looking to acquire the stakes, known as secondary investors, last year raised about $10.2 billion, according to Preqin Ltd., a London-based research firm. Secondary investors including London-based Coller Capital Ltd. and the private-equity unit of Axa SA, Europe’s second-largest insurer, are seeking to raise $19.2 billion for similar purchases, Preqin said. Credit Suisse Group AG raised $2.9 billion for its fifth fund that will purchase existing private-equity stakes, it said last month.
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