NY’s $177 billion man in Belfast visit

Posted By: November 22, 2014

Simon Cunningham. Irish News (Belfast). Friday, November 21, 2014
THE 177-billion-dollar man visited Belfast yesterday to see how some of his funds have
been invested – and revealed plans to pump yet more millions into the Northern Ireland
Comptroller of the State of New York Tom DiNapoli is in charge of a pension fund relied
on by a million public workers in the state.
The New York State Common Retirement Fund valued at $176.8bn (£113bn) has already
committed two tranches of funding to companies in the north by way of Crescent Capital
totalling some $22m (£14m).
It makes the fund the largest contributor to the Crescent portfolio.
At an event yesterday, Mr DiNapoli met with some of the firms to benefit, including
hosts NiSoft, an IT company providing security solutions to the energy sector.
And speaking to The Irish News, he spoke of a desire to add to the fund’s interest in the
north “at least” the same level as previously.
“If there are good opportunities, the nice thing about a pension fund of our size, we have
a lot of capital,” he said.
“We do have more capital that we have set aside for Northern Ireland.”
It was not the comptroller’s first visit to Belfast – he was in the city for an Invest Northern
Ireland investment conference six years ago.
“When I came away from visiting here in 2008, I really felt it was important for us to
make a commitment and New York has a strong connection to Northern Ireland and
Ireland,” he said.
“This was an historic coming together here where peace would be happening in a way
that it would provide for investment opportunities that weren’t there during the Troubles.
“That was an indication of New York’s commitment to the people here and the peace
process. And the peace process continuing fulfils our expectation that this will be a great
area for investment.”
He said it was important for the political institutions in Northern Ireland to remain stable
to ensure the north was attractive to investors.
“As trustee of the pension fund, we’ve been very proud of the fact that some of our
money has been put to work here in Northern Ireland.
“Here at NiSoft, we are seeing a company on the growth cycle, adding jobs, creating
opportunities and being successful and creating money for our pension fund.
“We want to be sure that the climate here is one still hospitable for investment.
“We know there is still work to do and there are talks going on right now.
“When I’ve met with government officials, I have said that it is very important to us that
that process continues.”
Crescent Capital has been investing in the north since 1995 managing three funds with
over £65m of commitments to 27 companies.
Among recipients are software firms SpeechStorm, PathXL and Analytics Engines as
well as renewables operator B9 Energy Control cancer research firm Fusion Anti-bodies.
* VISIT: Comptroller of the State of New York Tom DiNapoli who visited Belfast