In a long career spent managing money for educational institutions, Frederick Rogers, 60, has come full circle. After spending a total of 25 years at Carnegie Mellon and Cornell universities, 19 of them as CFO, Rogers returned to his Northfield, Minnesota–based alma mater at the beginning of the 2004–2005 school year to become treasurer.
Under his stewardship, Carleton College, a small liberal arts school, with just under 2,000 students, survived the market downturn with no liquidity crisis, although returns fell 16.45 percent in the brutal 2008–2009 fiscal year. (The average school endowment fell by 18.7 percent.) Upon his arrival, Rogers judged that the endowment portfolio, which stood at $575 million on December 31, 2009, needed a major overhaul. Fixed income and equities constituted a full 80 percent of the portfolio, with an additional 10 percent each in hedge funds and private equity.
With investment director Jason Matz, Rogers implemented a new allocation in 2006 that bumped up the alternatives, reduced fixed income and equities and added real assets. One third of the portfolio is in 16 hedge funds today — of which only one gated during the crisis — and nearly one quarter is in private equity and real assets. It seems to be paying off: Last year the endowment was up 12.6 percent.
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