Southwestern Selects New Endowment Fund Manager
Southwestern University has selected a new firm to handle the bulk of its nearly $285 million endowment.
The Board of Trustees Investment Committee selected Commonfund, a Connecticut-based firm that specializes in managing college and university endowments, after considering proposals from companies across the country. The Investment Committee was formed last year to help maximize the potential of Southwestern’s endowment.
Commonfund was founded in 1971 to help colleges and other nonprofit institutions improve their financial resources. It currently is the largest nonprofit investment manager in the country, with more than 1,800 clients and $40 billion in assets under management in a broad range of highly diversified investment strategies suitable for endowments.
“The Commonfund is one of the most effective endowment managers in the country,” said Richard Anderson, vice president for fiscal affairs at Southwestern. “Our investment portfolio has now been separated into a broad range of diversified investment vehicles similar to the asset allocation of the best performing college endowments. These investments include stocks, bonds, alternatives, and other asset classes.”
About 10-15 percent of Southwestern’s assets will remain under the management of Houston-based Fayez Sarofim & Company. According to Commonfund President and Chief Executive Officer Verne Sedlacek, “Each client is different, reflecting the need for customized approaches to managing their endowment. Each is managing a perpetual pool of assets. In other words, Southwestern is not only investing to meet the needs of today’s students, but for the needs of many generations to come. We’re delighted to be a part of their team.” Southwestern relies on income from its endowment, as well as gifts from alumni and friends, to keep its tuition prices for students as low as possible.
Thanks to endowment income and gifts, students only pay about sixty percent of the actual cost of attending Southwestern.