Board of Regents passes endowment fund changes

On Tuesday, the Board of Regents Endowment Management Committee approved four measures and tabled another that will modify the asset allocation of the UH Endowment Fund.

The measures, recommended by the administration and Cambridge Associates, included an increase to investments in private equity and developing markets, putting the $577 million endowment fund in a more aggressive position.

“I’m in support that we should be targeting higher growth rates,” said Jarvis Hollingsworth, vice chair of the committee. “We’re very fortunate to be in a strong financial position, and we need to start putting our money to work.”

There was also a recommendation to make a switch in international equity investment managers. William Blair, the firm currently contracted by UH, lost a top portfolio manager, raising concerns about the firm.

Although MFS Equity Management was recommended as the replacement, the commitee, led by Chair Mica Mosbacher, tabled the measure until the next committee meeting.

“I’m not comfortable making a decision based on ambiguity,” Mosbacher said. “(The committee) would need concrete reasons if we were to terminate William Blair.”

Another proposal included redeeming an investment in Three Bridges Capital after losing its most recent senior manager. The firm is left with the majority of analysts who have less than 18 months of experience. The firm also shifted its investment style since UH’s investment.

“I’ll say anecdotally that while they have lost people, their performance has been outstanding,” Hollingsworth said.

Mosbacher added that “it’s about the level of trust” in the investment. After calling a vote, the board unanimously passed the proposal.

The board then approved a proposal to delegate authority to Chancellor Renu Khator to replace Three Bridges Capital with Sheffield Asset Management as the long/short equity hedge fund manager.

The final measure enacted was an additional $1.5 million investment in an existing hedge fund manager.

Board of Regents committee meetings will continue on the second floor of the Hilton UH Hotel on Wednesday starting with the Academic and Student Success Committee at 8:30 a.m. and ending with the full Board meeting at 1:30 p.m.

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