Archive for June, 2020

Pay and Chief Investment Officers: Seven Figures and Climbing

06 / 20 / 2020
by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

Back in November we reported on endowment performance for 60 schools for fiscal year 2019.  Very shortly we will be back with our expanded 2019 performance report for the Top 100 CIOs by 5-year returns, our favorite metric.  Please watch for it.

In this letter, we focus on how much institutions pay these excellent investment pros.

Why is compensation reported for CY2017 while assets are reported for FY2019?

Most of our compensation numbers are publicly available as long as you are willing to dig for them.  Private schools and some publics disclose them in IRS filings.  The hitch is the long time-lag - more than two years - before the data is publicly available.

The AUM numbers, on the other hand, are for FY2019.  In each case we use the latest data available.

Filers report compensation for the latest complete calendar year within the fiscal year, which, in this case, is calendar year 2017.  This lag is annoying but unavoidable given current IRS policy.

This is why our June 2020 compensation survey is based on calendar year end 2017 salaries, mostly sourced from federal tax filings (IRS Form 990) for FY2018.

The corresponding data for many public schools (those without parallel foundations) is often fresher, but it's scattered among various and often quirky databases in various jurisdictions with various disclosure rules.

It's ironic that data for public colleges has sometimes been the least public.  But that's changed somewhat in recent years as more states adopt sunshine laws for public-employee pay generally.  Or, you can file a FOIA request.  But it's been like pulling teeth in many places.

Be that as it may, our pay figures should provide a useful frame of reference for boards, CEOs, and CIOs as they grapple with compensation challenges.

When it comes to pay, size matters

Our comp curve is very steep.  The median pay for the 100 CIOs on our list is only about $643 thousand.  That's much less than the mean, which indicates a lop-sided distribution with a few high-earners supporting the almost-$1 million average.

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