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Notre Dame’s Endowment Parts With Two Senior Investors

The $14 billion fund is under new management after CIO Scott Malpass surprised many by retiring.

For the first time in many years, the senior ranks at Notre Dame University’s investment office are in flux.  

Rick Buhrman and Paul Buser left this month as investment directors after spending 14 and 11 years, respectively, on the endowment’s public equity team. Buhrman had once been seen as the presumptive heir to take over from Malpass, according to a source close the organization.

Recently retired CIO Scott Malpass confirmed the moves Friday in emails to Institutional Investor.

Jason King is now head of the public equity portfolio, according to Malpass. “He is outstanding!” Malpass wrote.

Malpass, a titan of the industry, surprised many earlier this year by revealing plans to retire and hand over control to veteran team member Mike Donovan. Malpass and Donovan are the same age; they were roommates at Notre Dame in the early 1980s, per the Wall Street Journal

Under Malpass’s 32-year tenure, Notre Dame’s endowment grew from $425 million in 1989 to $13.8 billion as of last June. He and his stable team of investors have, year after year, delivered among the highest returns of any major institutional capital pool. 

[II Deep Dive: Scott Malpass, Investment Titan of Notre Dame’s Endowment, to Step Down]

The former CIO said in an email that Buhrman and Buser remain involved with Notre Dame as teachers and advisors.

“They wanted to spend more time teaching, mentoring, and assisting student groups so our friend Mike Donovan has allowed them to structure their time to allow for that,” Malpass wrote.

The departed directors — now “strategic advisors” to the investment office — started a hit course last spring called the “Art of Investing,” Malpass wrote. “It’s really a special experience that gives students a more holistic sense of how to thrive over the long term as investors.” 

“Rick and Paul have been exemplars of the values we seek in our culture and how we treat our investment partners and have done a fabulous job for the university for these past 10 to 15 years,” he went on. “I taught both of them in their senior investments course when they were students and I am exceptionally proud of them!”

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