Browsing: Institutional Asset Management

Pension, Endowment, Foundation, Family Office, Sovereign Wealth
Governance issues

Institutional Asset Management

Build Value: Don’t Just Meet Quarterly Targets!

Aug 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alternative Investments in Context, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

FCLT Global, a new not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote long-term thinking in business and finance, has issued a manifesto, “Rising to the Challenge of Short-Termism.” The paper was written by Dominic Barton, Jonathan Bailer, and Joshua Zoffer. Each is affiliated with McKinsey & Company, which is one of theRead More


Boston College’s CRR on Alternatives in Pension Portfolios

Aug 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has put out a white paper about public pensions and alternative investments.  It asks two questions: which plans have made the largest shift into alternatives? And, how has that shift mattered to their returns and risk? The report begins with the observationRead More


A Simple Approach to the Management of Endowments

Aug 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

By Hossein Kazemi & Kathryn Wilkens, CAIA Endowments and foundations are tax exempt and charitable organizations that rely on permanent pools of capital to fund their activities. These pools of capital are owned by institutions such as colleges, universities, hospitals, museums, scientific organizations, charitable entities, and religious institutions. When well-fundedRead More


Lessons from University Endowments

Jul 23rd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In a recent article for The Journal of Investment Consulting, John Mulvey and Margaret Holen look at the practice of asset allocation among large U.S. university endowments. They focus on asset category definitions in the hope of throwing some light on “the movement to define asset categories with reference toRead More


Preqin and NXT Capital on the Filling of a Post-GFC Vacuum

Jul 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Preqin, in collaboration with NXT Capital, has surveyed institutional investors about the U.S. lower middle-market direct lending space, and has issued a report on their attitudes. The gist of the report is that investor appetite for the lower middle market “has steadily gained momentum in the past decade and …Read More


The 100+ Top Guns of Institutional Investing

Jul 12th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Who's Who

By Charles Skorina This letter looks at the most recent five-year performance of over one hundred of the world’s best institutional investors. Endowment chief investment officers have an infinite investment horizon, a global playing field, and can invest in anything anywhere – within the broad policy limits set by theirRead More


Sovereign Funds: Illiquidity and Transparency

Jun 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Real Assets

News reports in the waning days of the second quarter of 2017 indicate that sovereign wealth funds, especially those of the Middle East, have turned in a big way toward real estate. Invesco says that the region’s SWFs allocated 11% of their portfolios to international real property in 2016. RealRead More


Do Teachers Pensions Need Trumpian Negotiators?

Jun 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Hedge Funds, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has issued a lengthy rebuke to and critique of the fee structure of the alternatives investment industry; in a position paper it calls The Big Squeeze. Should the title be considered obscure, the subtitle is clearer about the paper’s thesis, “How Money Managers’ FeesRead More


Pension Funds’ Portfolio Decisions: The Dutch Data

Jun 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

DeNederlandscheBank (DNB) issued a working paper this spring about the impact of liquidity and capital constraints on defined benefit pension plans. The paper has three authors, Dirk Broeders, Kristy Jansen, and Bas Werker. The first named author, Broeders, is the only one formally affiliated with DNB. The others are affiliatedRead More


Leading the charge into OCIO battlespace: 2 Harvardians invent an industry

Jun 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina In 1973, two former Harvard roommates and budding entrepreneurs – Jim Bailey and Hunter Lewis – took on an assignment to review the investments held in their school’s endowment. Things were very different back then.  A treasurer of the Harvard Corporation with the wonderfully Bostonian name ofRead More


State Pensions and Complex Investments

May 14th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A recent report from the PEW charitable trusts discusses the degree to which the pension funds of the states of the United States are increasing their use of “complex investments.” It also speaks to the consequences of this move. The term “complex investments” is used here to describe any departureRead More


SWFs: Growth Slows but Continues

May 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Preqin’s new Sovereign Wealth Fund Review makes the point that total assets under the management of SWFs continue to grow, but the rate of growth is notably slowing. This graph, measuring in US$ trillions, illustrates the growth trend since the financial crisis. Although the space grew by $.76 trillion betweenRead More


What makes a great Chief Investment Officer?

May 1st, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Family Offices, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina All professional investors want to make money.  The question is, how and for whom? In the for-profit world of Wall Street asset managers and retail mutual funds, the differences among managers reflect investor appetites, time horizons and risk tolerances.  They must all serve their customers, or theRead More


Longevity Risk Transfer Markets: Limits to Growth

Apr 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

It was a fairly routine item about an accomplished executive changing jobs in the asset management industry, but it caught my eye. A March 2017 news item said that Andrew Reid, until recently the head of corporate pension origination at Deutsche Bank, had left that post to work with InsightRead More


Some Granularity on the Mexican Pension Industry

Apr 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

BlackRock has published a research report about pension funds in Mexico, a report produced as part of its broader research project looking into the state of the pension fund industry around the globe.  It shows that the cause of alternatrive investments as a group is the cause of diversification forRead More


Sovereign Wealth Funds: Just Like You and Me?

Apr 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Sovereign wealth funds, however invulnerable and leviathan-like they may seem to outsiders, have the same concerns as other institutions in the current environment. On the one hand, bond yields remain at historic lows, with $13 trillion of fixed-income securities now commanding negative interest rates. On the other hand, the globalRead More


Survey Respondents: Market Volatility is the Gravest Threat Just Now

Mar 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Natixis Global Asset Management is out with its annual survey of institutional investors and their views about alternative investors. The survey included institutions around the world and of many distinct classes: corporate and public pension funds, insurance funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments/foundations, managing amongst them $15.5 trillion. The break-down ofRead More


Foundation CIOs and the American Dream: A Conversation With Carnegie’s Kim Lew

Mar 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina This month we focus on the venerable foundations of New York City and one of their most accomplished investment pros: Kim Y. Lew, chief investment officer of the Carnegie Corporation. We have an in-depth conversation with Ms. Lew on her career in foundation investing and the future of womenRead More


The Principal-Agent Problem and Smart Beta

Mar 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Economists  devote a good deal of attention to what they call the “principal-agent problem,” defined to include the whole nest of conflicts of interest and moral hazards that arise when one party agrees to work for and make decisions on behalf of another, especially when the goal is to  optimizeRead More


A conversation with UTIMCO’s Bruce Zimmerman

Feb 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina Bruce Zimmerman joined UTIMCO as Chief Executive Officer and chief investment officer in June of 2007, six months before the official start of the “great recession” in December 2007 (US National Bureau of Economic Research).But despite a 13% drop in the endowment in UTIMCO’s 2009 fiscal yearRead More


DC Sponsors and PE General Partners: A Good Marriage?

Feb 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Other Issues in Private Investments, Private Investments

The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, in a new paper, contends that private equity has a valuable part to play in the portfolios of defined contribution schemes, for the simple reason that the PE world offers high returns in an era of low interest rates. To make thatRead More


Texas Turmoil: UTIMCO picks a new path through a political minefield

Jan 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina Endowment returns took a beating last year and the turnover in chief investment officers tells the tale. Among the big names to make an exit in 2016 was Bruce Zimmerman, longtime CEO of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). We wrote about endowment turnover in ourRead More


Pension Institute on the Herding Tendency of Pensions as Investors

Jan 29th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new paper by the Pension Institute looks at the investing behavior of UK defined-benefit plans over the past 25 years, and finds a degree of correlation that should be worrisome to plan sponsors. The sponsors might want to design an improved incentive structure “that can better motivate pension fundsRead More


OECD Report on Insurer Portfolio Investment Strategies

Jan 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

A paper by Helmut Gründl and two associates, discussed at the June 2016 meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and published “on the responsibility of the Secretary-General” thereof, proposes that the regulators of insurers active in the various member countries should see their role not as theRead More


PGIM:  Not All Alternatives Are Alike

Jan 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new report from PGIM Institutional Advisory looks at an old question: what role should alternative investments play within the portfolio allocation decisions of institutions? The question is especially pressing at the beginning of 2017 because US broad equity indexes have done quite well for years, ever since the marketsRead More


Natixis asks 500 institutional investors to look into the future

Dec 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Emerging markets, Finance & Economics, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

Natixis Global Asset Management has released the results of a survey of 500 institutional investors, asking them their views on prospects for 2017. The surveyed institutions expect that political and economic developments could cause an increase in volatility in the year to come, and active managers have to reset theirRead More


AIMA and KPMG on Managed Accounts

Dec 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

AIMA’s new managed accounts guide tells us that an investment manager considering the use of managed accounts should consider certain disadvantages that come with this product, and may want to negotiate around these difficulties with investors. For smaller investment managers in particular, the increased regulatory and operational requirements can beRead More


Amy Falls: Meeting Harvard’s plan B

Dec 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In late July, Stephen Blyth stepped down as head of Harvard Management Company; then things happened fast. By mid-September, a hire seemed imminent and HMC was said to have winnowed the field down to just two: Narv Narvekar of Columbia and Amy C. Falls of Rockefeller University. Mr. Narvekar, whoRead More


Energy Infrastructure: The Midstream Sector

Nov 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

Is it a stream or is it a sea? They seem to have gotten their hydrological imagery mixed up. But no, the “sea” in question is a literal sea, though the “stream” in question is a mere bit of imagery, so clichéd as such that no one sees it asRead More


Pension Funds, Hedge Funds, and Allocations

Nov 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A new scholarly paper addresses the puzzle: which institutional investors are best informed? Zhe Chen, of the University of New South Wales, David Forsberg, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, and David R. Gallagher, UNSW Australia Business School,  compare hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and private banking firms to determineRead More


Outsourced CIO assets grow to $1.3 Trillion

Nov 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Consultants, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

By Charles Skorina With 74 firms reporting in, total outsourced CIO assets (managed with full discretion) have grown by $240 billion to $1.367 trillion since we published our last list in 2014.  That’s an increase of over 19 percent in two years, implying an annual growth rate of about 9Read More


Judge Rose: Libya’s SWF Heads Knew What They Were Doing

Nov 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Legislation/Court rulings, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

The economic historians of posterity have their work cut out for them here. There are doctoral dissertations in the works already, no doubt. And in time several scholarly careers will hang on this.   Those scholars will have to make sense of the political developments in late-Qaddafi Libya, of the roleRead More


BLEAK HOUSE–OR THE OUTLOOK ON HEDGE FUNDS NOW

Oct 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Family Offices, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

By Diane Harrison Charles Dickens’ Bleak House spins a tale of mystery, intrigue, family dynamics, and irony in the Victorian age that had readers gripped by its indictment of the English court system. While the novel is packed with intricate plot twists and turns, the main story line centers onRead More


Islam, Western Pensions, and Real Assets

Oct 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Intellectual Property, Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

A recent academic discussion of the much-vexed question of Islamic finance (including the always at least implicit query, how does it fit into the broader usually non-Islamic global picture?) focuses on the role in Islam of real assets, understood as tangible objects such as land, buildings, machinery, and commodities. TheRead More


Harvard gives Narv the nod

Oct 17th, 2016 | Filed under: Academic Foundations, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Who's Who

By Charles Skorina As all the world now knows, Harvard has selected Columbia’s Nirmal P. “Narv” Narvekar as the new head of Harvard Management Company. His name had been bandied about as a prime candidate for weeks.  We discussed it ourselves in our Aug. 29 newsletter. Reportedly, a few big-endowment CIOsRead More


From UMIFA to UPMIFA: Taking Stock 10 Years Later

Sep 29th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Ten years ago, thus before the global financial crisis, the Uniform Law Commission promulgated the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), a successor to an earlier uniform act, the UMIFA. One of the big changes from UMIFA to UPMIFA was the elimination of the concept of “historic dollarRead More


The Harvard Management Company to Big to Hail?

Sep 28th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In asset management, as in other endeavors, size really does matter. Bigger is better.  But growth in AUM drives growth in headcount and complexity; and that can overwhelm existing structures and challenge management. A few weeks ago in “Crunch Time for the Harvard Endowment” we referred to HMC’s hunt for aRead More


Crunch Time for the Harvard Endowment

Aug 14th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Personalities in AI

By Charles Skorina The hunt is underway for a new CEO at the Harvard Management Company.  And chairman Paul Finnegan and his board intend to get it right this time. Counting interims, they’ve now had six CEOs at their shop since Jack Meyer departed in 2005, and mostly mediocre returns to show for it. AfterRead More


The Harvard Management Co.: Time for some creative destruction?

Jul 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina It’s been 10 years now since Jack Meyer stepped down as head of Harvard Management Company, while David Swensen – now in his 31st year – has carried on at the Yale Investment Office. Each endowment has pursued its own distinctive management model: HMC with its “hybrid” internal/external approach,Read More


Managing Expectations: The Rise of the Separately Managed Account

Jul 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Family Offices, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, High-net-worth investors, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

By Diane Harrison The line between wealth management and fund management continues to blur for the alternative asset managers who serve the high-net-worth investor community. Driven by a growing desire on the part of these investors to maximize control over their investment portfolio, managers who are emerging or who operateRead More


Welcome to Low-Return World: Will Chief Investment Officers and Trustees be ready?

Jun 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets

By Charles Skorina For executive recruiters like us, that’s a question we’ll have to wrestle with as we present candidates to the boards of institutional asset managers. Two of our investment-management village elders–Bill Gross and Burton Malkiel–say we’re staring down the barrel of a low-return decade.  They’ve been around for aRead More


Canadian Universities and Interest Rate Swaps

Jun 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Two scholars looked recently at the behavior of Canadian universities regarding the management of their interest rate risk. They found something peculiar. The universities are making an increased use of interest-rate swaps, apparently under the impression that they are hedging against risks. But they aren’t. Almost all the swaps enteredRead More


SLAM Wars: The Flow Awakens Ranking Asset-Manager Flows & Profits

Jun 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Asset Managers, Endowments & Foundations, Family Offices, High-net-worth investors, Industry Size & Managers, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles A. Skorina As recruiters we work both sides of the investment-management street: serving for-profit money managers and not-for-profits like foundations and endowments.Fee-based publicly listed asset managers, especially the big ones, are newsworthy because they invest a lot of money for a lot of customers, including non-profits investors.  There’sRead More


Wrangling the Unicorns: Yale celebrates their VC heroes

May 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added, Private Equity, Private Investments, Venture capital

Yale, in their 2015 annual report issued this month has broken out their private equity allocation into two distinct segments: Leveraged Buyouts and Venture Capital.  See: This is the first time in many years they’ve offered that level of detail.  And they’ve given the whole report a VC-and-entrepreneurial theme, supplementing theRead More


Why NYCERS Should Reconsider Exiting All Hedge Funds

Apr 25th, 2016 | Filed under: Hedge Funds, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Donald A. Steinbrugge, CFA I would like to share some thoughts regarding New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS) voting to exit all hedge funds. Pension funds should always be managed in the best interest of the plan’s beneficiaries. I believe this blanket decision to eliminate a full setRead More


Inside the Bubble: The Investment Habits of the Wealthy Investor

Apr 13th, 2016 | Filed under: Family Offices, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

By Diane Harrison The wealthy have always worn a mantle of mystery: their gated communities, private memberships, exclusive clubs and the like emphasizing this “otherness.” Their investment management activities are no different; most high-net-worth investors employ a professional advisor to stand between them and those who clamor to serve them. YetRead More


Active vs. Passive Money Management

Apr 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Retail Investing

By Baird’s Asset Manager Research Exploring the costs and benefits of two alternative investment approaches Synopsis Proponents of active and passive investment management styles have made exhaustive and valid arguments for and against both approaches. Each has its merits and inherent drawbacks, and this paper will not endorse one styleRead More


The Skorina Report: Why You Can’t Clone Yale

Apr 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina   Can you copy great endowment investment performance?  The Yale endowment, for example? Reverse-engineering a good performer is probably achievable.  The key attributes can often be identified and, to some extent, duplicated. But can you replicate great performers? That’s a much taller order.  There’s always something slightlyRead More


The Skorina Report: A Conversation with Sam Gallo, CIO, University System of Maryland Foundation

Mar 28th, 2016 | Filed under: Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

By Charles Skorina My friend Sam Gallo has just finished the two-year executive MBA program at the University of Chicago (Chicago Booth School of Business).  He graduates this month with a stellar academic record after commuting every other weekend for two years from D.C. to Chicago while running the MarylandRead More


Fiduciary Duty: Do Investors Know What It Means?

Feb 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Family Offices, High-net-worth investors, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Regulatory Environment, Retail Investing, The A.I. Industry

According to a new Spectrem Group whitepaper, most investors questioned believed (usually erroneously) that their advisors have a fiduciary responsibility in caring for their money.Read More