D. Ellen Shuman: A Life of Investing Leadership

This protégé of David Swensen’s believes in spreading her bets, but not her managers.


D. Ellen Shuman began her endowment investing career working for David Swensen, longtime CIO at Yale University, where she remained for 12 years. In January 1999 Shuman brought her expertise to the Carnegie Corp. of New York as CIO for more than a dozen years before heeding the call of entrepreneurship. Institutional Investor’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award winner opened her new outsourced CIO firm last year.

At a roundtable discussion for the nine winners of the 2014 Institutional Investor U.S. Investment Management Awards, Shuman shared some of her lessons learned:

On investing today

“It is a very tough time. Trying to spread your bets seems like the best strategy right now.”

On fixed-income strategy

“We think you have to have some Treasuries as an insurance policy. They’re probably going to be shorter in duration at this point because when interest rates go up, there’s a real asymmetric risk to Treasuries.”

On managing one’s asset managers

“Post-2008 I’ve seen a trend to consolidate managers — to have fewer managers but have high conviction in them. It is easier to watch over fewer managers.”

To read more on Shuman’s investment views, see the full roundtable discussion.