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Tom DiNapoli, NY’s State Comptroller, keynotes Israel Altinvest Summit in NYC

On June 16, 2016, New York’s State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, delivered the keynote address at the “Israel Alternative Investing Summit” in Manhattan.  As the independently elected state comptroller, Mr. DiNapoli’s duties include acting as trustee of the state pension fund, ensuring that the fund is cared for and responsibly invested.  New York’s pension fund is one of the largest in the United States, with a most recent valuation of more than $178 billion.  In his speech, Mr. DiNapoli discussed the importance of the fund to the community, and the way that the Israeli people and economy are helping to support and grow New York’s investments.  

Some highlights:

By necessity, our Fund – like similar large institutional funds – is highly diversified and invested  in every sector of the economy, and so it tends to rise or fall based on the overall performance of the global economy and markets…

As an investor with a long horizon, we think about our asset allocation first.  We manage 75% of our portfolio in traditional asset classes – public equities and fixed income – and invest up to 25% in alternatives.  Alternatives for us include private equity, real estate, real assets, absolute return strategies – hedge funds- and opportunistic opportunities…

After introducing the fund, Mr. DiNapoli turned his attention to the extensive investment in and New York’s endorsement of Israeli markets.

In terms of our perspective on Israel, we believe that the best way to gain exposure to the Israeli market is to invest directly in managers located in Israel.

Israel’s strong democracy, stable currency and world-class technology markets have also seen the development of a group of managers who meet the fiduciary standards required by our Fund.

Since 2003, the New York State Common Retirement Fund has made private equity investments totaling approximately $550 million in the State of Israel.

Our most recent investment of $50 million to Israeli buyout/growth capital manager Fimi Opportunity Funds was in March of this year.

Our Fund has also invested in two other growth capital managers in Israel – Fortissimo and Tene – through the 57 Stars Emerging Markets Fund.

We have also made commitments to a number of Israeli venture capital groups through the Hudson River Fund II and earlier fund of funds vehicles.

We continue to seek out opportunities in Israel.

Finally, Mr. DiNapoli gave his personal perspective of the Israeli investment climate, and stated his confidence in future opportunities.

I traveled to Israel last November to get an update on investment opportunities and the economy….

It was my fifth trip to Israel and my first since 2006. I saw great progress.

I was impressed with the modernization of facilities and the enhanced transportation infrastructure since my last visit as well as Israel’s pioneering work in cybersecurity and advances in medicine and medical technology…

The trip left me with continued confidence in our current investments and the possibility for new opportunities to come in the future.

Israel is an attractive source of investment opportunity – especially for technology companies and early stage companies focused on emerging technologies.

Again, as State Comptroller and Trustee of the New York Pension Fund, my responsibility and overriding goal is simple:

To maintain a strong and stable pension fund for the more than one million members of our system, working and retired, and to achieve long term sustainable, economic growth to produce the returns we need.

Investing in Israel will continue to be part of that equation.

Following the comptroller’s rousing address, the Summit continued with seminars on the Israeli economy and markets, a panel on raising money in the United States, and more than 100 1:1 meetings between U.S. investors and Israeli funds.  

For more information about investing in Israel, or about the Altinvest Summit in NYC, contact Erik Blumberg at the Israel Economic Mission.