Smith College to begin CIO search as it moves assets in-house

Smith College announced plans this month to shift from outsourcing its endowment management functions to setting up its own in-house investment office.

Since 2004, the college has outsourced the management of its $2 billion endowment to Investure, an outsourced investment management firm that works with colleges, universities and foundations.

A search for the college’s first chief investment officer will begin shortly. The new CIO will report to the president and will work closely with the Investment Committee and with David DeSwert, vice president for finance and administration.

Once on board, the CIO will establish an office and staffing to support an outstanding investment management operation.

Smith President Kathleen McCartney and Board of Trustees Chair Alison Overseth said that the move, known as “insourcing,” will enable the college to have greater direct control over its largest financial asset — its endowment. 

Smith was one of Investure’s founding clients.

Located in Charlottesville, VA, Investure serves as the consortial investment office for Smith College, Barnard College, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Colonial Williamsburg, The Commonwealth Fund, Dickinson College, the Henry Luce Foundation, Houston Endowment, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Middlebury College, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Trinity College and the University of Tulsa, managing over $12 billion in assets.

Currently, Smith’s endowment asset allocation includes a 31% allocation to private equity and a 27% allocation to alternative equity.

Smith will continue to work closely with Investure over the next several years as the college transitions its investment positions and completes other necessary administrative arrangements. 

“We are profoundly grateful to Investure for the transformational role they have played in our endowment management and for all that their work has enabled Smith College to accomplish,” McCartney said in a statement.

Investure was founded by Alice Handy, who spent nearly 30 years at the University of Virginia as its first investment officer.

Bruce Miller, Investure’s chief executive officer, said, “It has been an honor to partner with Smith College for so many years. Investure was founded on the premise of serving nonprofit institutions, with the goal of generating excellent long-term investment performance. We are proud of our role in helping Smith successfully grow their endowment, and we look forward to supporting Smith in the coming years in this next phase.”

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