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Wake Forest University Endowment Fund

Name: Wake Forest University

Assets Under Management: $1.148B Billion (Source: Wake Forest University on 6/30/2014)

Annual Report: Wake Forest University Consolidated Financial Statements June 30, 2014

Portfolio Insights: “Wake Forest University (the University) is a private, coeducational, not-for-profit institution of higher education and research located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The consolidated financial statements of the University include the College of Arts and Sciences, Schools of Law, Business, and Divinity, and Reynolda House, Inc. (collectively, Reynolda Campus), and Wake Forest University Health Sciences (WFUHS), and all entities over which the University has control, including all of the subsidiaries of Reynolda Campus and WFUHS. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

The University’s pooled endowment consists of approximately 1,500 individual funds established for a variety of purposes including bothdonor-restricted endowment funds and funds designated by the Board of Trustees to function as endowments. Net assets associated with endowment funds are classified and reported based on the existence or absence of donor-imposed restrictions. Gift annuities, beneficial interest in perpetual trusts and assets held by others, and contributions receivable are not considered components of the endowment.” (Source)

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Top Wake Forest University Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) Wake Forest University has spun off its endowment investment office into an outsourced-CIO (OCIO) operation, the school’s President Nathan Hatch confirmed to aiCIO. Verger Capital Management will continue to invest the university’s $1 billion endowment, Hatch said, which includes assets from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the school-affiliated Reynolda House Museum of American Art. It has also landed a private school as its first client, according to a source familiar with the situation. The new firm is a jointly-owned venture between the endowment’s management team and the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based university. (Source)

2) Dunn’s lightheartedness and passion for his work at Wake Forest’s endowment — which achieved 1.77% year-end returns 3% over the benchmark, and 3-year returns of 8.73% — is evident through every phone conversation, email, and in-person exchange we’ve had. In other words, he loves his work and doesn’t take himself too seriously. For Wake Forest, turbulent market conditions emphasize the importance of the cohesiveness of its investment team — which consists of Dunn along with five investment staff. “Our investment team recognizes that there’s a certain level of hubris born in success. And you can’t underestimate the role of luck,” says Dunn, who came on board to lead Wake Forest’s endowment in July 2009. “I’ll be at Wake Forest for as long as they’ll have me,” he adds. (Source)

3) Wake Forest University is a private institution that was founded in 1834. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,823, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 340 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Wake Forest University’s ranking in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 27. Its tuition and fees are $46,200 (2014-15). Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, just a few hours by car from skiing in the Blue Ridge Mountains or relaxing on the beaches of South Carolina. Campus Recreation offers intramural sports and outdoor trips such as kayaking on the New River, hang-gliding and sky-diving. The Demon Deacons, Wake’s athletic teams, are members of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference. When Wake Forest played rival Duke University in 1922 and won, a local reporter described the Wake players as “Demon Deacons,” and thus, the mascot was born. Students must live on campus for six semesters in one of the residence halls. Greek organizations play a big role at Wake Forest, with a membership consisting of almost half of the student body. (Source)

4) As vice president and chief investment officer at Wake Forest University, Jim is responsible for investment of the University’s endowment, working capital, and life income assets of over $1.4 billion. He also serves on the President Cabinet, the University Senate, the Wake Forest Faculty Athletics Committee, and the College Town Steering Committee. Jim is a member of the Board of Directors of the ASGI Agility Income Fund and the Board of Trustees at Forsyth Country Day School. He also sits on the Milken Global Capital Markets Advisory Council and is a member of the North Carolina Investment Roundtable, the aiCIO Magazine Advisory Board and the CFA North Carolina Society’s Strategic Advisory Board. Jim holds a BBA in Finance from Villanova University. (Source)

5) Wake Forest may have generated returns that were among the best in the endowment world over the last decade, but the university thinks it’s time to rein in risk and reevaluate its asset allocation. Though it escaped some of the damage from the credit crisis — the portfolio is down 20.5 percent as of June, 2009 — and did not face the liquidity problems confronted by many of its endowment brethren, Wake Forest is now switching gears and has brought in an outsider to the endowment world to add guard rails to the portfolio, evaluating risk, portfolio construction and asset allocation afresh. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson