After a Banner Year, Kansas State University CIO Lois Cox to Retire

The endowment posted top-tier returns of 5.72 percent in fiscal year 2022.

Lois Cox (Courtesy Photo)

Lois Cox

(Courtesy Photo)

Lois Cox is going out on a high note at the Kansas State University Foundation.

The long-serving chief investment officer is planning to retire after 18 years with the foundation. The university has launched a search for her replacement, tapping RSR Partners to run the recruitment process.

Cox and her team at KSUF were one of the few to post positive returns in 2022, inking a 5.72 percent gain for the year ending June 30, 2022. The foundation’s portfolio has $928.2 million under management.

According to a November KSUF announcement, the foundation’s long-term investment pool posted a 10-year annualized return of 9.25 percent and a 20-year annualized return of 7.9 percent in fiscal 2022. Performance declined as the year went on, with the foundation posting a loss of 3.25 percent for the calendar year.

“A large portion of the investment gains over FY22 can be attributed to the private capital and diversifiers strategies embedded in the portfolio,” Cox wrote in KSUF’s annual report.

These diversification strategies include hedge funds, real assets, and private credit. In fiscal year 2022, KSUF’s board approved increased allocations to these strategies, while also removing exposure to commodities.

“The increase to the diversifiers allocation and the new allocation to private credit are expected to add to the resiliency of the portfolio by increasing exposures to strategies that provide uncorrelated and higher cash-yielding opportunities to equity and bonds,” the annual report said.

Cox began her career as a portfolio manager for the Kansas Farm Bureau, where she worked for nearly 20 years before joining the foundation as its director of investments. In 2013, she was promoted to vice president of investments and chief investment officer, and in 2020, Cox added “senior” to her vice president title.

KSUF’s investment office and media representative did not return e-mails seeking further details on Cox’s retirement on Monday.