This content is from: Corner Office

The Ghost of Crises Past (and Future)

There are some frightening and spine chilling findings in a recent research paper that quite literally involves ghosts... and endowments.

I finally got around to reading Cathleen M. Rittereiser’s Portfolio White Board project in which she reviews the findings of a recent brainstorming session she helped organize with a bunch of endowment CIOs. It’s quite a fascinating paper that’s well worth your time to read.

However, here's a warning: the paper’s findings are downright... scary!

First of all, the paper documents a haunting in which... and I am pulling actual quotes from the paper here... an “uninvited” “ghost” “hovered” “in every room” and “infused each with angst”. That's spooky. In fact, it sounds like most of the academic conferences I go to. And when I first read it, I got chills down my spine (then I closed the window next to my desk and warmed right up; it's cold out).

Second, the paper had some rather frightening things to say about the current state of endowments. Again, these are direct quotes from the paper:

- “Governance has regressed, unable to assign responsibility effectively and create an environment of flexibility and empowerment.” The horror!

- “Asset allocation is undergoing a sea change, but the apparatus around the shift is out of sync, slowing innovation and adoption.” Run away!

- “Execution and monitoring require more sophisticated support both in terms of systems and personnel.” Help!

Man, I would have hoped that the “ghost of the 2008 financial crisis” (another direct quote) would have scared these funds into improving their organizational capabilities. Alas, that’s apparently not the case, which is frightening.

Happy Halloween by the way :)

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