Kent E. Muckel
Baylor University, Waco TX
Education: BS, finance, University of Colorado, CO; MBA, Daniels College of Business, University of Denver, CO
Mentors: Christopher Bittman, CIO, University of Colorado Foundation; Kim Walker, CIO, Washington University; Kathy Lutito, CIO Qwest Asset Management
Kent Muckel joined Baylor University as CIO on May 1st of this year. Responsible for investment decisions and portfolio management, he is assessing current asset allocations and actively looking for opportunities to take advantage of market dislocations while maintaining liquidity.
The asset allocation model of Baylor is based on thematic buckets; risk reducers, market exposures, return enhancers and inflation hedges. Muckel is increasing the level of liquidity and flexibility within each bucket to move more tactically. Were looking at creative ways to get income and growth into the portfolio, re-examining some allocations that were made in a different economic environment, while also looking to capitalize on attractive ideas stemming from the markets recent volatility he says.
Baylors CFO, Reagan Ramsower, attributes Muckels investment strength to his in-depth analytical skills. Kent is incredibly comprehensive and systematic in his research and the formulation of strategies for investing our endowment. With an eye for details grounded by this solid investment strategy, Kent is able to juggle the myriad objectives of a university endowment he says.
The changing economic environment, according to Muckel, presents the opportunity for endowments to re-evaluate the asset allocation and implementation of their business models. Managers will have the opportunity to re-think portfolio design to better align portfolio constructions with the specific needs of the institution it supports. The biggest obstacle for foundations and endowments will be to balance the desirable perpetual nature of an endowment or foundation and the opportunities created with a long-term asset-base against the immediate need to meet spending requirements and other cash calls. All of this must be done in the face of potentially lower returns than in the past due to an era of economic de-leveraging and slower growth, says Muckel.
Before joining Baylor, Muckel was the senior portfolio manager for the University of Colorado Foundation, where his notable achievements included eliminating the securities lending program in March 2008, and four weeks before the fall of Lehman, removing cash from the Commonfund short-term vehicle helping to preserve liquidity at the university. He also spent nine years at the corporate pension fund for Qwest Communications, responsible for the $10 billion public markets portfolio in his final year.
Following are links to the profiles of each of this years Stars: