Mass. pension discloses PE/VC fund performance data

October 18, 2010, 11:19 PM UTC

Most public pension systems do not disclose performance data from the venture capital and private equity funds in which they have invested.

The few that deviate from that norm — CalPERS, CalSTRS, Oregon, etc. — take great pains to remind viewers that the so-called “J-curve” skews returns for immature funds. After all, the internal rate of return (IRR) of a fund raised in 2009 means about as much as a football team’s pre-season record.

Perhaps the best compromise, therefore, comes from the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM). The system is transparent in releasing fund-specific IRRs, but also respects reputations by withholding data on funds raised within the past five years.

Now I certainly have some quibbles with the PRIM process, including the lack of cash-in/cash-out data and the requirement that IRRs only be marked to December 31 of the prior year. If PRIM staff can update those dollar totals each quarter for their board, then they certainly could do so for the public.

Anyway, this is a very long way of saying that I recently asked for, and received, the most current fund performance data from PRIM. It includes 187 venture capital and buyout funds, including such “brands” as Battery Ventures, KKR, Hellman & Friedman, Madison Dearborn and Summit Partners. Also in there are three funds from energy-focused PE firm First Reserve, which has two funds with IRRs above 40%, and the debut fund from Union Square Ventures (56.22% IRR).

The best-performing vehicle is Menlo Ventures VII, a 1997-vintage vehicle that sports an IRR in excess of 136%.

Here is all the data, net of fees:

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