Ex-NBA star David Robinson now managing money

"The Admiral' scores $15M investment from state teachers' pension fund

Mar 4, 2012 @ 12:01 am

By Bloomberg News

Admiral Capital Group, a private-equity firm started by former San Antonio Spurs basketball star David Robinson, will be investing $15 million on behalf of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas under the fund's emerging-managers program.

“Our goal is to work with managers to help them grow,” said Stuart Bernstein, director of the program. “The superstars today are not necessarily going to be the superstars 10 to 15 years from now.”

Admiral, which focuses on real estate, has bought five office buildings and hotels in California, Nevada and Texas since 2009.

It is among 80 relatively new investment firms that have received $1.7 billion from the pension fund since 2005, Mr. Bernstein said.

The plan oversees $104.3 billion of assets, and has 1.3 million active and retired members and their dependents.

USAA Real Estate Co. invested $50 million in Admiral in September 2010, becoming a major shareholder in the management firm, Mr. Bernstein said.

An affiliate of United Services Automobile Association, the company owned and managed more than $5 billion in property at the time of its agreement with Admiral.

It provides administrative support for Admiral and advises on investments, Mr. Bernstein said.

Although pension funds typically tie their commitments to past investment performance, Admiral is too new to have an established record, Mr. Bernstein said.

The pension fund agreed to make the capital commitment Feb. 15 at a board meeting.

Daniel Bassichis, 37, an Admiral co-founder, said that neither he nor Mr. Robinson, 46, had a comment on the teacher fund investment.

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, Mr. Bernstein said.

Mr. Robinson, a Naval Academy graduate and Olympic gold medalist, played for 14 years with the National Basketball Association's San Antonio franchise, helping to win two championships. Known as the Admiral, he was inducted into the sport's hall of fame in 2009.

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