Florida foundation states interest in Mena

23 Jan 2012

Florida State University Foundation is willing to consider Mena fund managers as part of its new frontier and emerging markets exposure, Mena FM can reveal.

The foundation’s allocations to emerging markets and frontier emerging markets fall into its global ex-US category, which can amass 22.5% of the $447m fund’s assets. 

Jerry Ganz, the foundation’s CFO, told Mena FM that it has recently agreed two new frontier emerging markets allocations, which will sit alongside its two existing emerging markets investments. This frontier exposure makes up 2% of the foundation’s overall investment portfolio. “This is just a small foray into the class, if you will,” said Ganz. “It’s just to get our feet wet, but it’ll grow I’m sure as time goes by and in the years to come.” 

Ganz added  that he has never been approached by a Mena-based fund manager, but that the foundation is not opposed to investing in the region. “Mena-based managers have not come across my desk at all,” he said. “In getting into these asset classes, we were very focused on high quality and high-reputation firms, but it wasn’t terribly important to us for the manager to be locally based, it’s more the quality of the manager that determined our selection.”

The foundation employs investment consultant Cambridge Associates to advise on its overall exposure and manager selection, and looks to frontier and emerging markets to add diversification and growth to its portfolio. “The emerging frontier markets funds are additional diversification, but first and foremost they offer growth,” says Ganz. “Frontier markets are the new emerging markets.”