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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


DiNapoli Announces $15 Million Investment in Northern Ireland

State Pension Fund Finds Opportunity for Growth With Belfast Venture Capital Firm

March 4, 2014

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund) is investing $15 million (£9 million) with Northern Ireland venture capital firm Crescent Capital.

The allocation followed an intensive analysis by 57 Stars LLC, the manager of the Fund’s $100 million Emerging Europe Fund, and is part of an estimated $30 million anticipated investment in Northern Ireland.

“We’ve found a dynamic opportunity to provide the New York State Common Retirement Fund with a solid return on investment,” DiNapoli said. “Northern Ireland has the young, skilled workforce and the solid infrastructure that are hallmarks of the long-range economic growth that is critical to our international investment strategy. This partnership will benefit our pension fund and Northern Ireland in the years to come.”

“I am heartened by the news from New York — at this special time for the Irish across the globe, St. Patrick’s Day — of a substantial investment by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in the emerging technology companies of Belfast via the Crescent Capital fund,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. “This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the peace process and represents a continuing commitment by Comptroller DiNapoli to job creation as the driver of the remarkable transformation Belfast is enjoying. The Comptroller is a true friend of Belfast and his longstanding resolve to ensure equality of employment for all has been a key building block in our economic resurgence."

‘We are very pleased to be investing in the Crescent Capital fund, and backing its highly experienced and capable team,” said Stephen O’Neill, Managing Director of 57 Stars. “Northern Ireland benefits from great universities and a highly educated workforce, and we look forward to Crescent supporting a portfolio of Northern Ireland companies which will generate growth in the region’s economy as well as attractive returns for the New York State Common Retirement Fund.”

Crescent Capital is the largest venture capital fund manager in Northern Ireland, having managed three funds with more than $100 million in total commitments. Crescent has been a champion for investment in local businesses for nearly two decades, having backed many entrepreneurial teams in a wide variety of sectors.

“We are very pleased to have secured New York State Common Retirement Fund as investors with Crescent,” said Colin Walsh, Managing Director of Crescent Capital. “This commitment which has been agreed with Comptroller DiNapoli is the largest ever investment here by a major international pension fund, a real endorsement of the maturing economic climate in Northern Ireland.”

The Fund and 57 Stars continue to seek out opportunities throughout Northern Ireland that meet fiduciary standards. The Common Retirement Fund’s contract with the Emerging Europe Fund contains strict non-discrimination safeguards.

About the Common Retirement Fund

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the third largest public pension plan in the United States with more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries from more than 3,000 state and local government employers.

The Fund has a diversified portfolio of public and private equities, fixed income, real estate and alternative instruments and has consistently been ranked as one of the best managed and best funded plans in the nation. Over the past 20 years, 80 percent of the cost of benefit payments has been funded by investment returns. The Fund’s fiscal year ends March 31, 2014.