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University of Colorado Gets New Investment Chief

Tony Vu has been appointed as the school’s next treasurer.

The University of Colorado has hired a Miami school district treasurer to oversee the school’s finances.

Tony Vu, treasurer and assistant superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has been appointed as the University of Colorado’s treasurer, chief investment officer, and associate vice president of budget and finance, the school announced December 17 in its online news publication. Vu will be responsible for managing the banking activity for the university’s four campuses, $2 billion in university investments, and $1.8 billion in issued debt.

The CU Foundation’s $2 billion portfolio, which includes the school’s $1.5 billion endowment, is separately managed by outsourced-CIO firm Agility.

“Tony Vu’s expertise and experience make him an excellent choice for the university’s treasurer role,” CU regent Sue Sharkey, who co-chaired the search committee, said in the announcement. “We’re delighted to have someone of his caliber leading this important part of our operation.”

Vu replaces Dan Wilson, who is retiring after five years as the university’s treasurer. Vu, who previously served as university treasurer for the Florida International University, will start in his new role on January 19.

“I’m thrilled and humbled to join an organization that is not only one of the top public research universities in the country, but one with a world-class team managing its finances,” Vu said in the announcement. “I look forward to bringing my skills and experience to bear to help CU emerge from the pandemic and thrive in the years ahead.”

The CU Foundation came into the spotlight this summer when a major university donor and three recent graduates sued over its “expensive, fee-laden, actively managed, and alternative-investment-dependent investments,” as they described in legal filings.

[II Deep Dive: A University Endowment Got Sued for Lagging the S&P 500. Now, It’s Fighting Back.]

The suit claimed that the university would have been better off investing in Vanguard Group’s S&P 500 index tracker, which charges almost nothing in fees and replicates the movement of large U.S. stocks.

But the university fought back, with CU Foundation president and chief executive officer Jack Finlaw telling II in October that “active-versus-passive is a matter for conversation, but not really a matter for the courts.”

That same month, the suit was permanently dismissed by a Colorado judge.

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