Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We have been retained by Hirtle Callaghan to identify and acquire like-minded, ambitious investment advisors

08 / 27 / 2020
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

We have been retained by Hirtle Callaghan to identify and acquire like-minded, ambitious investment advisors, both OCIOs (Outsourced Chief Investment Officer) and RIAs.

We’ve made the case for years that a growing book of business is a realistic measure of client satisfaction and the best defense against the unexpected.  Not to mention increasing career opportunities for staff, monetizing sweat equity, and preparing for succession (over half of RIAs and OCIO do not have a succession plan in place).

We understand the desire of many OCIO and RIA firms to remain independent.  But, we live in an unpredictable world and serving the client comes first.  We believe Jon Hirtle’s goal to add financial muscle, build distribution, enhance investment capabilities, and develop bench strength through a robust acquisition program is the right way to proceed.

One additional point, we’re mining the RIA segment as well as OCIOs, looking for candidates and in that space, merger and acquisition activity seems insatiable.

Call us.  We build investment management.  (520) 529-5677

Best regards, Charles

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The OCIO Industry: Alan Biller, An Accidental Money Manager

02 / 25 / 2020
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

Alan Biller and Associates – one of the largest independent OCIO firms on our latest OCIO list – announced the hire of John D. Skjervem as their new chief executive officer and we are pleased that Charles Skorina & Co was able to assist with the search.

Mr. Skjervem, currently chief investment officer at the mighty $111 billion investment division of the Oregon State Treasury, will be joining ABA in Menlo Park in early April.

A University of Chicago MBA, Mr. Skjervem joined the Oregon Treasury in 2012 after twenty-one years at Northern Trust, most recently as CIO for NT’s $180 billion wealth-management unit.

The OCIO Industry and Taft-Hartley Pension Plans

As we noted in our 2019 OCIO (Outsourced Chief Investment Officer) report, the largest firms, including stand-alones like Alan Biller and Hirtle Callaghan as well as majors like Goldman Sachs and Mercer, continue to hire top talent and build infrastructure as the market grows.

By our bottom-up reckoning, discretionary assets rose from $1.98 trillion in the middle of 2018 to $2.38 trillion at June of 2019, a very impressive year-over-year growth rate of 19 percent!

ABA specializes in a sub-set of the OCIO matrix: the pension plans known as Taft-Hartleys (aka, “multiemployer,” or just “union plans).”

These are not as well covered by the broader investment industry as, say, the endowment and foundation sector, but they are at the heart of ABA’s success.

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Skorina seeks Director of Investments for $2.5 Billion portfolio

07 / 31 / 2019
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

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Minority Rapport: In Praise of Being Different by Mark Baumgartner

04 / 18 / 2019
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

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Scott Wilson steps up: Washington U lands a prime Chief Investment Officer

09 / 14 / 2017
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

Scott Wilson steps up 

Washington University lands a prime Chief Investment Officer

Washington University in St. Louis has landed a splendid new chief investment officer for its $8 billion endowment: Scott L. Wilson of Grinnell College.

The hire was announced last week and conducted by WUSL's interim CIO and search committee chair Eric Upin.

Mr. Upin is a highly qualified CIO in his own right.  He's a Harvard MBA, former CIO of the Stanford endowment and, more recently, a senior partner and CIO at outsourcer Makena. (Check out Makena's standing in our updated OCIO list, coming next week!)

Mr. Wilson served for more than seven years at the $1.9 billion (FY 17) Grinnell College endowment in Iowa, including three years as CIO.  He's a Grinnell grad, and was working toward an MS in financial mathematics from the University of Chicago when he was transferred to Tokyo.

Before joining Grinnell he held a series of hands-on bond- and derivatives-trading jobs, including a long tour in Tokyo working for Bank of America and Barclay's Capital.  And every summer he likes to get away from it all by retreating to his cabin somewhere up a mountain side in a remote part of Alaska.

He arrives in St. Louis with the global perspective needed at a major endowment in this era.  We know, for instance, that he has been shifting equity money into ex-U.S. markets since 2014, including establishing a foothold in sub-Saharan Africa (through private-equity deals), where many have feared to tread.

Kim Walker departed St. Louis in December after a 10-year tour as founding CIO at the WU Investment Management Company.  She had no announced destination, and hasn't yet surfaced anywhere else.

For Mr. Wilson, who's still only 41, this is a big step up.  He's moving from the 63rd-largest to the 16th-largest endowment per our latest SEER rankings.  And he will undoubtedly see a commensurate jump in pay.

Our SEER numbers show Mr. Wilson with total comp of $562,117 in 2014, the latest period available.  Ms. Walker got $891,871 in the same period (which is a bit on the low side for a Top 20 endowment).  We would expect him to get a package totaling close to $2 million as he comes aboard this Fall.

See SEER pay rankings:

Five-year annualized performance for the two funds has been similar: 5.4 percent at Grinnell and 5.6 percent at WUSL.  But their allocations have been significantly different.

See SEER performance rankings:

Grinnell is heavier in equities than most big endowments, including WUSL.  That equity exposure worked for them in FY2015, when Grinnell returned a big 20.4 percent, ahead of all the Ivys, and tied with University of Minnesota for the best performance among Top 100 endowments.  Mr. Wilson has been lightening that equities bucket over the last two years, shifting more into alternatives, but it still stands at about 40 percent as of FY2016.

Mr. Wilson has also eschewed macro hedge funds at Grinnell, because it creates portfolio construction issues which make it very difficult for the investment office to return its cost of capital.  This may or may not be reflected in the WUSL allocations going forward.

Like most big endowments, both WUSL and Grinnell posted losses in FY2016, but Grinnell has come roaring back in FY 2017 with a return close to 19%, bringing their five-year return to an impressive 10%.  As we see from their target allocation below, Grinnell has been high in equities when it counted and low in real assets when the pickings were slim.

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