- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming officials voted Thursday to invest $350 million in state funds with a Massachusetts firm that specializes in global investing.

Wyoming’s State Loan and Investment Board, comprising the governor and the other four statewide elected officials, approved the investment with Boston-based Arrowstreet Capital.

Michael Walden-Newman, the state’s chief investment officer, said the money will transfer after the state completes a contract with the firm. The investment will come from the state’s roughly $18-billion investment portfolio.

Walden-Newman said Arrowstreet will give the state new access to global investment opportunities, in addition to the domestic stock managers it already retains.

“This is a mandate that will be roughly 3 percent of our permanent funds, again a compliment and a bridge between the international-only equity managers and the U.S.-only equity managers,” Walden-Newman said. “And we’re going to start them with funding at $350 million and they will grow as the portfolio grows to keep them at their target allocation.”

Michael Stanton, a partner with Arrowstreet, told state officials that the firm has 115 clients and about $52 billion under management. He said they apply the same approach to all their clients, making investments across regions, sectors and industries.

After the board voted to approve Arrowstreet’s contract, State Treasurer Mark Gordon announced that his office has decided not to invest more money in private equity, meaning investments that aren’t traded on stock exchanges. His office began investigating last year whether to increase its private equity holdings.

The state had about $345 million in private equity investments under management by four separate firms as of this summer.

In other action, the board approved over $1.8 million in Business Ready Community grant requests on Thursday.

Riverton had requested over $1.4 million for the purchase of land for future community growth. The board is set to decide at its December meeting whether to dispose of the property. A grant from the Wyoming Business Council would pay up to 85 percent of a minimum bid.

The board funded the following other projects:

- Albany County: $25,000 to study the feasibility of an events center.

- Buffalo: Over $24,000 for a feasibility study for a technology park.

- Dubois: $25,000 to study the feasibility of marketing Dubois as a destination for adventure and education-based tourism.

- Guernsey: $22,500 to develop options and costs for Rollins Road from U.S. Highway 26 to the South Guernsey Highway.

- Kaycee-Buffalo: Over $20,000 for a feasibility study for an industrial park.

- Laramie: $50,000 for a retail leakage analysis and strategic plan.

- Laramie County: $25,000 to study the effects of fees and regulations on economic development.

- Platte County: $50,000 to develop an energy and transmission plan for southeast Wyoming.

- Thayne: Over $46,000 to develop a plan aimed at attracting technical industries such as data centers.

- Upton: $18,750 to study the feasibility of a multipurpose community facility in a city park.

- Wheatland: $50,000 to address the 16th Street reconstruction project.

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