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University of Cincinnati Endowment Fund

Name: Office of the Chief Investment Officer

Assets Under Management: $1.6 Billion (Source: University of Cincinnati on 6/30/2013)

Annual Report: University of Cincinnati’s 2014 Investment Office Snapshot

Portfolio Insights: “UC and the UC Foundation have demonstrated a commitment to balancing the needs of today with the needs of the future. UC has lowered its spending policy to 4.5% and the Foundation has lowered its fundraising fee. These actions leave more capital in the endowment to grow and compound, enabling the endowment to provide the same vital support to future generations of UC scholars as it does today.” (Source)

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Top University of Cincinnati Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University enjoyed banner years in expanding their endowments last fiscal year, adding millions of dollars to their coffers. A newly released annual study of university endowments nationwide, sponsored by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute, shows that Xavier’s endowment enjoyed the biggest percentage increase for the year ended June 30 of any large local school. Its endowment swelled 12.9 percent to more than $132 million. UC’s endowment increased by $69 million, giving it the largest dollar increase of the four largest local universities. It hurdled the $1 billion mark, reaching $1.046 billion. (Source)

2) As chief investment officer of the $1.2 billion University of Cincinnati endowment, Scheer utilizes a similarly non-flashy, straightforward approach. “Our strategy is not fancy or exotic,” Scheer said. “We’re very focused on executing a proven model, rather than trying to invent a novel way of allocating capital, structuring our portfolio, or evaluating risk.”

As of June 30, 2014, Cincinnati had 20% portfolio allocations to absolute-return and U.S. equity strategies; 15% to cash and fixed income; 13% to private equity; 12% to developed-market international equities; 9% to emerging-market equities; and 7% and 4% to private and public real assets, respectively. (Source)

3) The University of Cincinnati’s sustainability committees have worked to hire sustainability staff, create an endowment fund for sustainability projects, expand recycling to include cell phones, and promote local food, among other initiatives. All computers purchased for the campus are EPEAT certified. (Source)

4) The University of Cincinnati endowment has appointed Karl Scheer as CIO, Pensions & Investments reports. He succeeds Thomas Croft, who retired from the $1 billion university endowment on September 1.

Scheer took over his responsibilities at the university on September 19. Previously, he was co-portfolio manager for Summer Hill Capital Partners. (Source)

5) The University of Cincinnati, which has a $979 million endowment pool, made dramatic shifts to its target asset mix and took new steps to assess risks in its portfolio.

Steered by CIO Karl Scheer, who took office in late 2011, the endowment embarked on an overhaul. The University of Cincinnati reduced its fixed income bucket with the view that bonds would not be able to provide the same shock absorption as in the past and cut the bucket’s manager roster to two from 11. It raised its absolute return target, swapped out a manager for credit hedge fund Regiment Capital Advisors and deepened relationships with its existing hedge funds. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson