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Endowment Performance Study Set

UC Berkeley Management CIO John-Austin Saviano to study recent endowment performance.

Hip University of California, Berkeley, isn’t usually behind the times, but the UC Berkeley Foundation’s move to set up an independent management company years after other universities did so may turn out to be a case of good timing. John-Austin Saviano, a rising star from consultant Cambridge Associates, is CIO of the brand-new UC Berkeley Management Co., which opened its doors in September and will oversee $736 million. He plans to study recent performance in the endowment world — which lost 19 percent on average in the year ended June 30, 2009 — to learn what not to do with the portfolio.

"The lessons of the last year loom large," says the 35-year-old Saviano. He won’t give specifics on how he’ll structure the foundation’s portfolio, but says he’ll focus on diversification and include alternative investments and other asset classes, with a keen eye to whether "you are likely to get paid for taking these illiquid positions." Seems prudent.

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