When the now–nearly $800 million endowment fund at Carleton College suffered a 19.2 percent loss in 2001–’02, during the dot-com meltdown, its trustees decided they needed a dedicated investment officer to take over. In 2004 the college trustee members of the investment committee tapped Jason Matz to build a new investment office. They put their faith in Matz — former director of global equity research at Minneapolis-based consulting firm Jeffrey Slocum & Associates and a portfolio manager at the Minnesota State Board of Investment — giving him full discretion over manager selection and portfolio rebalancing after three years. Matz began to diversify, lowering public equity from 61 percent to today’s 38 percent and adding to private equity and hedge funds, now at 16.8 percent and 25.5 percent, respectively.
“I think improving the governance and decision-making process is the most important factor in determining long-term success in endowment investing,” says the 42-year-old CIO, who has produced a 9.7 percent five-year annualized return and a 7 percent return over the past decade at the 2,000-student, Northfield, Minnesota–based liberal arts school.
Carleton was one of a handful of midsize learning institutions that achieved higher returns than most Ivy League schools for the six years following the global financial crisis of 2008–’09. “Carleton’s portfolio actually did better during the crisis because of the asset allocation changes made during the 2006–2007 time frame,” says Matz, who sits on the investment committee at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Matz, who earned a BSBA in finance from Boston University in 1994 and an MBA in finance from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in 2001, is also a board member at Wilderness Inquiry, an organization that ensures people of all abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds are able to enjoy outdoor adventures.
The 2015 U.S. Investment Management AwardsClick to View Profile