The Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board approved a plan aimed at increasing investments with smaller money-management firms.

According to board chairman and state Treasurer Steven Grossman, the emerging manager program also emphasizes investments with women- and minority-owned enterprises.

An emerging manager is generally defined as an investment manager with less than $2 billion in assets under management. Many of them have existed for less than three years. They exist in several asset classes, including hedge funds, private equity, venture capital and real estate.

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