Smith College to Move Endowment Investment Function In House

The college said outsourcing had made it an “outlier” among schools with similar asset levels.

Illustration by II

Illustration by II

Smith College announced on Thursday it is establishing its own in-house investment office to manage endowment assets, a move that it says puts the school’s model in line with that of other colleges and universities with similar assets.

The university had been outsourcing the management of its endowment to outsourced CIO firm Investure since 2004. Smith will continue to work closely with that firm over the next several years as it transitions its investment positions and makes other necessary arrangements, according to a statement announcing the move.

A search for the college’s first CIO will be chaired by Smith alumna Deborah Farrington and supported by recruiting firm David Barrett Partners.

Over the past 16 years, the Smith endowment’s value has grown from roughly $900 million to more than $2 billion, “due in large part to cumulative portfolio returns of more than 300 percent,” according to a letter to the college community signed by Smith president Kathleen McCartney and board chair Alison Overseth.

“Today, our endowment ranks among the largest in the nation,” the letter continued. “Given the current size of our endowment, Smith has become an outlier among higher education institutions that outsource their endowment management. In this context, and following more than a year of deliberation, the Smith College board of trustees has decided to establish its own in-house investment office, a model used by most colleges and universities with investment assets comparable to ours.”


McCartney added that Smith is “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.”

Bruce Miller, Investure’s chief executive officer, said in the statement that it had been “an honor to partner with Smith College for so many years,” adding, “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.”