Pay and Chief Investment Officers

08 / 23 / 2017
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by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

In this issue

  • Compensation and the Top 100+ Chief Investment Officers 
  • Fiddles and finance: Navigating an inefficient market
  • OCIOs and the costs of outsourcing
  • Charts (6): pay, performance, OCIOs

————————————————–

Paying the Top Guns of Institutional Investing

Last month in Part One of this report we focused on relative performance.  We ranked 107 CIOs by trailing 5-year returns.

See: http://www.charlesskorina.com/?p=4828

Now, we focus on how much institutions pay these excellent people.

The bare comp numbers lead us to the tricky and perennial question of whether their pay is properly aligned to their performance (or vice-versa), and we offer some analysis and opinion from the point of view of working headhunters.

We also consider the cost of an OCIO firm relative to an in-house CIO-led investment office.

Now, on to the charts!

COMPENSATION: TOP 100+ CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICERS

R

a

n

k

AUM FY16 ($bn)

5-yr

Rtn

FY16

(%)

 

Chief

Investment

Officer

or

(OCIO firm)

Institution

Total Pay

CY 2014

or other

1

$34.5

5.9

(Mendillo, Jane)

Narvekar, Narv

Harvard U

$13,757,369

Pay for 18 months

2

$25.4

10.4

Swensen, David

Yale U

$4,888,288

3

$1.6

6.3

Investure (OCIO)

Smith College

$4,121,170

4

$1.5

6.1

Makena (OCIO)

Washington & Lee U

$4,117,307

5

$1.0

7.0

Investure (OCIO)

Middlebury College

$4,078,000

6

$8.4

8.4

Malpass, Scott C.

U of Notre Dame

$3,906,277

7

$9.0

7.4

(Narvekar, Narv)

Holland, Peter

Columbia U

$3,765,705

8

$1.1

5.9

PWP/Agility (OCIO)

U of Colorado Fdn

$3,503,221

9

$9.6

6.5

McLean, William H.

Northwestern U

$2,957,882

10

$1.4

6.3

Cambridge Assoc (OCIO)

U of Arkansas Fdn

$2,846,082

11

$1.2

6.2

Mercer (OCIO)

Syracuse U

$2,768,573

12

$9.0

7.0

Triplett, Neal F.

Duke U

$2,679,889

13

$26.4

6.2

(Zimmerman, Bruce)

Harris, Britt

U Texas/Texas A&M

$2,485,650

14

$22.2

9.4

Golden, Andrew

Princeton U

$2,445,402

15

$22.4

7.1

(Powers, John)

Wallace, Robert

Stanford U

$2,391,674

16

$1.6

6.2

Strategic Invest Grp (OCIO)

George Washington U

$2,100,000

17

$0.6

4.0

PWP/Agility (OCIO)

Arizona State U Fdn

$2,035,378

18

$7.1

5.7

Schmid, Mark

U of Chicago

$1,990,763

19

$2.2

6.7

Blandford, Rob

U of Richmond

$1,879,423

20

$3.8

4.5

Hall, Anders W.

Vanderbilt U

$1,783,109

21

$5.9

8.5

Kochard, Larry

U of Virginia

$1,711,747

22

$3.4

6.0

(Crecelius, Kathryn)

Perlioni, Jason

Johns Hopkins U

$1,575,808

23

$13.2

10.3

Alexander, Seth

MIT

$1,555,973

24

$9.7

6.5

Bachher, Jagdeep S.

U of California Regents

$1,473,476

25

$0.6

5.7

Cornerstone Prts. (OCIO)

DePauw U

$1,425,139

26

$1.8

5.8

Pulavarti, Srinivas B.

UCLA

$1,378,669

27

$6.4

6.1

Cahill, Mary

Emory U

$1,376,161

28

$1.3

9.9

Volent, Paula

Bowdoin College

$1,249,740

29

$10.7

7.7

Ammon, Peter H.

U of Pennsylvania

$1,200,798

30

$10.5

6.0

Lundberg, Erik L.

U of Michigan

$1,190,000

31

$3.0

6.6

Dowling, Joseph L. III

Brown U

$1,188,638

32

$1.8

7.0

Kuenstner, Debbie

Wellesley College

$1,182,502

33

$4.5

8.8

(Peedin, Pamela)

Ruth, Alice A.

Dartmouth U

$1,159,920

34

$1.2

6.1

Crigler, Jeremy

Tulane U

$1,146,000

35

$5.8

5.3

(Edwards, A.J.)

Miranda, Ken

Cornell U

$1,072,200

36

$1.9

6.9

Falls, Amy C.

Rockefeller U

$970,711

37

$3.0

6.5

Ferguson, Keith

U of Washington

$969,800

38

$4.6

6.3

Mazzocco, Lisa

U Southern California

$949,846

39

$2.3

8.5

Chilton, Collette

Williams College

$945,847

40

$1.7

5.7

Hunnewell, Clarissa

Boston U

$945,370

41

$1.6

8.3

Smith, Daren M.

U of Toronto

$937,500

42

$2.9

7.2

King, Jonathon C.

U of North Carolina

$916,087

43

$1.1

6.9

Walker, William

Baylor College of Med

$911,545

44

$8.4

5.6

(ex) Walker, Kimberly

Washington U (St. Louis)

$891,871

45

$1.4

6.7

Hille, James R.

Texas Christian U

$862,562

46

$1.1

4.6

Hirtle Callaghan (OCIO)

Berea College

$851,811

47

$1.5

5.3

Barry, Michael

Georgetown U

$848,639

48

$1.2

3.9

Agatone, Kristin

Lehigh U

$830,803

49

$2.3

6.9

Gorence, Douglas J.

U of Minnesota

$796,996

50

$1.6

5.3

(ex) Saviano, John-Austin

UC Berkeley

$779,194

51

$1.1

4.4

Harkins, David

UC San Francisco Fdn

$779,194

52

$5.3

7.8

Thacker, Alison

Rice U

$772,017

53

$1.4

5.1

(Condon, Michael)

Dahiya, Rakesh

Southern Methodist U

$767,200

54

$2.1

8.4

Richland, Scott H.

Caltech

$740,970

55

$0.7

6.7

Martin, Anne

Wesleyan U

$687,089

56

$1.6

5.3

Dungan, Sally M.

Tufts U

$664,728

57

$1.9

6.8

Phillips, Douglas W.

U of Rochester

$652,659

58

$0.6

5.2

Herring, Ahron

Yeshiva U

$631,863

59

$0.7

5.5

Thayer, Jainen

Oberlin College

$616,595

60

$0.7

5.9

(Gorrilla, Adele)

Browne, Kathleen

Denison U

$607,211

61

$1.1

4.6

Verger Capital (OCIO)

Wake Forest U

$585,000

62

$3.6

5.0

Lane, John C.

Ohio State U

$575,004

63

$1.6

5.4

Wilson, Scott L.

Grinnell College

$562,117

64

$1.4

4.8

Ellison, Ellen J.

U of Illinois

$532,365

65

$1.3

5.0

Taylor, James B.

Georgia Instit. of Tech.

$529,639

66

$0.8

5.3

Kerrigan, John

Santa Clara U

$505,453

67

$2.1

5.3

Zona, John J.

Boston College

$484,671

68

$3.5

6.2

Marsh, Amy K.

U of Pittsburgh

$447,500

69

$1.2

5.5

Scheer, Karl

U of Cincinnati

$437,149

70

$1.1

4.4

Webb, R. Brian

Baylor U

$429,397

71

$1.1

8.5

Parihar, Jai

U of British Columbia

$421,125

72

$1.7

4.4

Staley, Sally

Case Western Reserve

$418,320

73

$1.7

6.7

Kennedy, Charles A.

Carnegie Mellon U

$416,810

74

$1.9

5.3

Stratton, Gary

Indiana U

$414,105

75

$1.2

8.6

Mason, Stuart

U of Minnesota

$400,000

76

$3.6

6.8

Pomeroy, John C.

Penn State U

$400,000

77

$0.7

5.9

O’Donnell, Hugh J.

Colby College

$369,056

78

$2.0

7.0

Geissler, Mauricia A.

Amherst College

$362,140

79

$0.7

4.6

Jarry, Timothy

College of Holy Cross

$356,045

80

$0.7

5.9

(ex) Matz, Jason

Carleton College

$355,445

81

$0.9

8.7

Stambaugh, Michael

Carnegie Inst. Of Wash.

$350,000

82

$0.8

8.0

Namyet, Jay

U of Oregon

$339,356

83

$1.4

4.7

(ex) Handley, Janet A.

Texas A&M U Sys

$384,100

84

$0.8

7.3

Ward, Dan

Vir. Polytechnic Inst.

$299,658

85

$0.7

7.5

Jacobson, Raymond A.

Davidson College

$287,030

86

$2.0

6.6

Sisson, Karen

Pomona College

$286,713

87

$0.8

6.0

Hope, Joseph S.

Colgate U

$294,187

88

$0.7

6.4

Floyd, James

Claremont McKenna C.

$277,787

89

$0.8

4.0

(ex) Brown, Christopher

Bucknell U

$277,375

90

$1.5

4.7

(Kelly, Ed – interim CIO)

Reeser, William S.

U of Florida Fdn

$270,000

91

$0.7

4.2

Barker, Craig

U of Arizona

$258,175

92

$0.6

3.7

Wood, Eric

Fordham U

$257,805

93

$0.7

4.9

Ulozas, Catherine

Drexel U

$250,000

94

$0.6

4.9

McAndrew, Shane

Villanova U

$250,000

95

$1.5

5.8

Richards, Thomas

U of Missouri Sys

$244,605

96

$1.7

6.3

Amstutz, Mark C.

Swarthmore College

$237,087

97

$0.7

6.7

Berner, Howard E. Jr

Principia College

$230,568

98

$1.5

6.6

Johnson, Brad

U of Oklahoma

$217,917

99

$0.5

4.4

Tydwell, Ryan

Oklahoma State U

$213,972

100

$1.1

5.8

Whitworth, Gary

Saint Louis U

$210,976

101

$1.1

4.9

Mecherle, Rip

U of Tennessee

$197,274

102

$0.7

7.9

(ex) Tosh, Adam

Macalester College

$194,770

103

$0.5

5.7

Jones, Eric C.

Loyola U of Chicago

$183,210

104

$2.3

4.9

Cooper, David

Purdue U

$176,448

105

$0.7

5.7

Bohrer, Joseph S.

Lafayette College

$174,984

106

$0.9

6.0

Bethea, Jim

U of Iowa

$169,691

107

$0.5

5.7

Lonergan, Andrew

Reed College

$150,000


N.B.2.:
(Name) in parenthesis was CIO for all or most of 2014N.B.1.: Data from 990 filings for calendar year 2014, disclosures, media, our estimates

N.B.3.:  Dollar figures in italics are Skorina’s estimates

 

Clarifications and caveats:

… Where’s my school?

If your school isn’t on the list, it’s probably because it uses a committee-and-consultant model and has no CIO.  Or, it’s too small. (Our lower-bound cutoff is ~$500 million AUM).  These are the same 107 institutions reported in Part One of this report in July, 2017.

…Why are assets and returns reported for 2016, while compensation is reported for 2014?

All data in this chart is latest available as of mid-August 2017.  Most of our compensation data is from federal tax filings (IRS Form 990) for FY2015.

Filers report compensation for the latest complete calendar year within the fiscal year, which is usually calendar year 2014.  This lag is annoying but unavoidable given current IRS policy.

Compensation for calendar year 2015 will become publicly available within the next few months, at which time we will issue an update.

In fourteen cases, the schools are not 990 filers and data is from other official or semi-official sources.  These are usually public universities (including Canadians) without parallel foundations managing their endowment funds.

In seven cases, we have made our own estimates of total comp based on our professional judgement and industry knowledge.  We think these are fair approximations, but we make no guarantees.  They are printed in bold italics, like this.

With a few exceptions, the returns are trailing 5-years annualized as of June 30, 2016.

We haven’t festooned our charts with a lot of footnotes.  But, if readers have questions or corrections regarding specific numbers, we’ll be glad to respond.

Assets under management (AUM) are generally for June 30, 2016, again with a few exceptions for schools with nonstandard fiscal years.  These AUM numbers are usually identical to those reported to Commonfund-NACUBO.

…The reported CIO (or OCIO) is as of late June, 2017.

Since CIOs come and go, this individual or firm is not necessarily responsible for performance over the entire trailing 5-year period.  And, because of the time lag in IRS reporting, compensation may pertain to a predecessor CIO who was in office for all or most of calendar 2014.  In those cases, the predecessor CIO is printed in parentheses.

We take CY2014 comp as the best available estimate of current compensation, whether or not the job has turned over.  CIOs tend to get year-over-year raises in line with university administrators generally, and for individual performance.  Average CIO pay in 2017 is probably at least 5 percent higher than in 2014.

…Fees paid to OCIO firms are included in this chart, although they are not strictly comparable to compensation of individual CIOs.

This issue is discussed below with a separate breakout of OCIO numbers. 

————————————————–

The Problem with Harvard

Harvard Management Company is sui generis in the endowment world, and its CIO (actually, a CEO) has made twice as much as the next-highest-paying endowment chief in recent years.

Even if we used 3-year averages, the number would be conspicuously high.  And, as we and others have pointed out, it’s not easy to justify that generous salary given HMC’s mediocre performance over the past five years.

See: The Harvard Management Company: Time for some creative destruction?  http://www.charlesskorina.com/?p=3631

A lot of that comp has been performance bonuses banked by the incumbent in prior years and paid out three or four years later.

We won’t know Narv Narvekar’s comp for calendar 2016 for many months.  We know he doesn’t have any banked bonuses like Ms. Mendillo or Mr. Blyth.  But he may have received some kind of signing bonus.

On balance, we think his pay will be much lower than the $13.8 million we cite in the chart.  In fact, we think the bonuses for the senior staff at HMC generally will be reduced under a new formula.

But we are sticking to Ms. Mendillos’s 2014 comp as our official guess in order to be consistent in our methodology.

Harvard Management

Company

CEO

Calendar Year

Total W2 Compensation

Blyth, Stephen

2015

$14,900,000

Mendillo, Jane

2014

$13,757,369

Pay for 18 months

Mendillo, Jane

2013

$9,497,390

Mendillo, Jane

2012

$4,746,610

Mendillo, Jane

2011

$4,131,575

Mendillo, Jane

2010

$3,516,539

 

AUM, not performance, drives pay

In the next chart we’ve broken out pay into base, bonus, and total (“Base” includes “other” items in W2 comp which are usually minor.)

We’re down to just 80 CIOs here, having stripped out OCIO firms and also individual CIOs for whom we have only a single, total dollar amount. OCIOs are addressed in a separate section down below.

Note: more than a quarter of the CIOs on this list apparently have no bonus arrangement in their contracts. They are mostly at the smaller funds.

COMPENSATION DETAILS: CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICERS

R

a

n

k

AUM FY16 ($bn)

 Chief

Investment

Officer

Institution

Base

+ Other ($000)

Bonus

($000)

Total

Comp

($000)

 

1

$34.5

(Mendillo, Jane)

Narvekar, Narv

Harvard U

$1,257

$12,500

$13,757

Pay for 18 months

2

$25.4

Swensen, David

Yale U

$2,581

$2,307

$4,888

3

$8.4

Malpass, Scott C.

U of Notre Dame

$1,044

$2,862

$3,906

 4 $9.0 

(Narvekar, Narv)

Holland, Peter

Columbia U

$895

$2,871

$3,766

5

$9.6

McLean, William H.

Northwestern U

$753

$2,205

$2,958

6

$9.0

Triplett, Neal F.

Duke U

$887

$1,793

$2,680

7

$26.4

(Zimmerman, Bruce)

Harris, Britt

U Texas/Texas A&M U

$663

$1,823

$2,486

8

$22.2

Golden, Andrew

Princeton U

$906

$1,539

$2,445

9

$22.4

(Powers, John)

Wallace, Robert

Stanford U

$1,715

$677

$2,392

10

$7.1

Schmid, Mark

U Chicago

$638

$1,352

$1,991

11

$2.2

Blandford, Rob

U Richmond

$504

$1,376

$1,879

12

$3.8

Hall, Anders W.

Vanderbilt U

$716

$1,067

$1,783

13

$5.9

Kochard, Larry

U Virginia

$1,537

$175

$1,712

14

$3.4

(Crecelius, Kathryn)

Perlioni, Jason

Johns Hopkins U

$872

$704

$1,576

15

$13.2

Alexander, Seth

MIT

$623

$933

$1,556

16

$1.8

Pulavarti, Srinivas B.

UCLA

$629

$750

$1,379

17

$6.4

Cahill, Mary

Emory U

$663

$713

$1,376

18

$1.3

Volent, Paula

Bowdoin College

$645

$605

$1,250

19

$10.7

Ammon, Peter H.

U Pennsylvania

$673

$528

$1,201

20

$3.0

Dowling, Joseph L. III

Brown U

$589

$600

$1,189

21

$1.8

Kuenstner, Debbie

Wellesley College

$553

$629

$1,183

22

$4.5

(Peedin, Pamela)

Ruth, Alice A.

Dartmouth U

$490

$670

$1,160

23

$1.2

Crigler, Jeremy

Tulane U

$446

$700

$1,146

24

$5.8

(Edwards, A.J.)

Miranda, Ken

Cornell U

$570

$502

$1,072

25

$1.9

Falls, Amy C.

Rockefeller U

$596

$375

$971

26

$4.6

Mazzocco, Lisa

U Southern California

$704

$246

$950

27

$2.3

Chilton, Collette

Williams College

$439

$507

$946

28

$1.7

Hunnewell, Clarissa

Boston U

$560

$385

$945

29

$2.9

King, Jonathon C.

U North Carolina

$602

$314

$916

30

$1.1

Walker, William

Baylor College of Med

$912

$0

$912

31

$8.4

(ex) Walker, Kimberly

Washington U (St. Louis)

$565

$327

$892

32

$1.4

Hille, James R.

Texas Christian U

$702

$160

$863

33

$1.5

Barry, Michael

Georgetown U

$397

$452

$849

34

$1.2

Agatone, Kristin

Lehigh U

$455

$376

$831

35

$2.3

Gorence, Douglas J.

U Minnesota

$541

$256

$797

36

$1.6

(ex) Saviano, John-Austin

UC Berkeley

$474

$305

$779

37

$5.3

Thacker, Alison

Rice U

$522

$250

$772

38

$1.4

(Condon, Michael)

Dahiya, Rakesh

Southern Methodist U

$422

$345

$767

39

$2.1

Richland, Scott H.

Caltech

$537

$204

$741

40

$0.7

Martin, Anne

Wesleyan U

$404

$283

$687

41

$1.6

Dungan, Sally M.

Tufts U

$367

$297

$665

42

$1.9

Phillips, Douglas W.

U Rochester

$653

$0

$653

43

$0.6

Herring, Ahron

Yeshiva U

$394

$238

$632

44

$0.7

Thayer, Jainen

Oberlin College

$617

$0

$617

45

$0.7

(Gorrilla, Adele)

Browne, Kathleen

Denison U

$305

$302

$607

46

$1.6

Wilson, Scott L.

Grinnell College

$505

$57

$562

47

$1.4

Ellison, Ellen J.

U Illinois

$462

$70

$532

48

$1.3

Taylor, James B.

Georgia Inst. of Tech.

$324

$205

$530

49

$0.8

Kerrigan, John

Santa Clara U

$405

$100

$505

50

$2.1

Zona, John J.

Boston College

$485

$0

$485

67

$1.5

(Kelly, Ed – interim CIO)

Reeser, William S.

U Florida Fdn

$400

$76

$476

51

$1.1

Webb, R. Brian

Baylor U

$317

$113

$429

52

$1.7

(ex) Staley, Sally

Case Western Reserve

$300

$118

$418

53

$1.7

Kennedy, Charles A.

Carnegie Mellon U

$308

$109

$417

54

$1.9

Stratton, Gary

Indiana U

$251

$163

$414

60

$1.4

(ex) Handley, Janet A.

Texas A&M U Sys

$326

$59

$384

55

$0.7

O’Donnell, Hugh J.

Colby College

$339

$30

$369

56

$2.0

Geissler, Mauricia A.

Amherst College

$362

$0

$362

57

$0.7

Jarry, Timothy

College of Holy Cross

$303

$53

$356

58

$0.7

(ex) Matz, Jason

Carleton College

$355

$0

$355

59

$0.8

Namyet, Jay

U of Oregan

$339

$0

$339

61

$0.8

Ward, Dan

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

$300

$0

$300

64

$0.8

Hope, Joseph S.

Colgate U

$194

$100

$294

62

$0.7

Jacobson, Raymond A.

Davidson College

$287

$0

$287

63

$2.0

Sisson, Karen

Pomona College

$287

$0

$287

65

$0.7

Floyd, James

Claremont McKenna

$253

$25

$278

66

$0.8

(ex) Brown, Christopher

Bucknell U

$277

$0

$277

68

$0.7

Barker, Craig

U Arizona

$258

$0

$258

69

$0.6

Wood, Eric

Fordham U

$233

$25

$258

70

$1.7

Amstutz, Mark C.

Swarthmore College

$237

$0

$237

71

$0.7

Berner, Howard E. Jr

Principia College

$231

$0

$231

72

$1.5

Johnson, Brad

U Oklahoma

$197

$21

$218

73

$0.5

Tydwell, Ryan

Oklahoma State U

$178

$36

$214

74

$1.1

Whitworth, Gary

Saint Louis U

$211

$0

$211

75

$0.7

(ex) Tosh, Adam

Macalester College

$195

$0

$195

76

$0.5

(ex) Jones, Eric C.

Loyola U Chicago

$183

$0

$183

77

$2.3

Cooper, David

Purdue U

$176

$0

$176

78

$0.7

Bohrer, Joseph S.

Lafayette College

$175

$0

$175

79

$0.9

Bethea, Jim

U Iowa

$170

$0

$170

80

$0.5

Lonergan, Andrew

Reed College

$150

$0

$150

N.B.1.: Data from 990 filings for calendar year 2014, disclosures, media, our estimates

N.B.2.: (Name) in parenthesis was CIO for all or most of 2014

N.B.3.:  Dollar figures in italics are Skorina’s estimates

Bonuses are usually tied to a rolling multi-year average portfolio return.  A three-year window is typical to smooth our single-year aberrations.

Logically, we should see higher bonuses (as percent of total comp) for CIOs with relatively higher five-year returns.  Those with below-average returns should have lower bonuses in their paychecks.  This isn’t complicated.

But, our attempts to find any such pattern in this cross-sectional dataset fizzled. We could probably find such a pattern longitudinally (across time) for individual CIOs.  But we don’t yet have a good multi-year dataset for pay. (We’re working on it!)

Returns have only a very weak correlation to either bonuses or to total comp according to our regression analyses.  The R-squared statistic is minuscule: around 0.02.

On the other hand, there is a pretty robust relationship between AUM and total pay, with an R-squared statistic north of 0.6.

Size matters: bigger firms pay more … way more!

In the larger corporate world CEO pay is an object of great interest and controversy for obvious reasons.  But the relationship of size to compensation looks just like what we see in our set of endowment CIO data.

Kevin Hallock at Cornell University is one of the go-to experts in this field.  He’s chair of their department of Labor Economics and director of their Institute for Compensation Studies.  In papers with his students and colleagues he’s studied CEO pay for many years.

He says: “It doesn’t matter whether company size is measured as assets, market value, sales revenue or number of employees — bigger firms pay more … way more.”

“We can isolate the impact of all kinds of other characteristics (e.g., industry, return on assets, profitability, research and development expense, etc.) and even use complicated statistical techniques to remove the influence of “unmeasureable” characteristics, and the size-to-pay link remains intact.”

This isn’t just crony capitalists taking care of their board-room buddies, either.  The same relationships are found in non-profits (e.g., endowments and foundations) and labor unions.

See: https://www.ilr.cornell.edu/sites/ilr.cornell.edu/files/workspan/02-11-Research-for-the-real-world_0.pdf

Quintiles: from top to bottom

There is a simpler, more intuitive way to show these relationships.

We can condense the whole list (sorted by either AUM or returns) into five chunks (quintiles) and readily see whether comps are moving in step with the alleged explanatory variables.

We use median values instead of means to eliminate the tug of outliers like Harvard.  And, we drop the 11 OCIOs from our list of 107, leaving just the 96 individual CIOs.

Among the top quintile with its 19 mega-endowments, the median AUM is $9.6 billion, and the median total comp is almost $2 million.

As we move down toward the smaller funds, median AUM drops to $0.66 billion while comp goes to $260 thousand.

The CIOs running the smallest funds – which are twenty times smaller than the ones in the top quintile – make only about 13 percent as much as the CIOs running the big funds.  And the comp drops pretty smoothly quintile by quintile:

Quintile

n

 

 

AUM

(000)

COMP

1st

19

Median

$9,648,497

$1,990,763

2nd

19

Median

$2,889,679

$796,996

3rd

19

Median

$1,639,348

$562,117

4th

19

Median

$1,138,815

$429,397

5th

20

Median

$664,951

$258,175

Total

96

     

 

Looking at quintiles for 5-year RETURN and their corresponding comp numbers, we see a much looser correlation.

In the middle quintile, where returns are about average for all large endowments, comp is actually slightly higher than for the much higher-performing top quintile!  In the top half of this ranking, comp seems to be almost divorced from performance.

In the bottom half of the return ranking, there is moderate correlation of comp to return.

But the low performers still make more than 40 percent as much as the high-performing CIOs.

In other words, the drop in compensation from the quintile to the lowest quintile is much steeper for AUM than it is for performance.

Quintile

n

 

5-yr

Rtn

%

COMP

1st

19

Median

8.5

$945,847

2nd

19

Median

6.8

$796,996

3rd

19

Median

6.1

$949,846

4th

19

Median

5.5

$562,117

5th

20

Median

4.7

$401,210

Total

96

     

 

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OCIOs: the cost of outsourcing

There are 11 OCIO firms included in our big list of 107 at the top of this letter.  Here we break them out as a separate group.

OCIO Fee

Rank

AUM FY16   $bn

5yr Rtn

%

OCIO

Institution

Fees:

bips per $mil AUM

Total Fee:

990s

or other source

1

$1.63

6.3

Investure

Smith College

0.25

$4,121,170

2

$1.47

6.1

Makena

Washington & Lee

0.28

$4,117,307

3

$1.00

7.0

Investure

Middlebury College

0.41

$4,078,000

4

$1.06

5.9

PWP/Agility

U of Colorado Fdn

0.33

$3,503,221

5

$1.37

6.3

Cambridge Assoc

U of Arkansas Fdn

0.21

$2,846,082

6

$1.16

6.2

Mercer

Syracuse U

0.24

$2,768,573

7

$1.57

6.2

Strategic Invest Grp

Geo Washington U

0.13

$2,100,000

8

$0.61

4.0

PWP/Agility

Arizona State U Fdn

0.33

$2,035,378

9

$0.61

5.7

Cornerstone Prtnrs

DePauw U

0.23

$1,425,139

10

$1.14

4.6

Verger Capital

Wake Forest U

0.08

$863,121

11

$1.05

4.6

Hirtle Callaghan

Berea College

0.08

$851,811

 –

– 

– 

Mean

5.4

 –

 

0.25

$2,609,982

Median

5.9

 –

 –

0.25

$2,768,573

StdDev

1.2

 

 

0.10

$1,254,048

 

(You can find our most recent complete OCIO list, as of September 2016, in PDF format here: http://www.charlesskorina.com/?p=3916)

The fees paid to OCIO firms aren’t really comparable to the pay of an individual CIO, but we thought it would be useful to include them in our master compensation chart for comparison purposes.

When a fund hires an OCIO they are, in effect, hiring a whole virtual investment office: the equivalent of perhaps a half-dozen full-time employees plus overhead.

For fiscal year 2014, large endowments reporting to NACUBO-Commonfund said their median internal costs of portfolio management were 48 basis points on AUM (i.e., 0.048 percent).

Because they have economies of scale not available to individual institutions, we would expect OCIOs to be able to offer fees below the client’s internal cost.  So, we would expect to see fees somewhat below 48 bps.

In fact, we see that fees in our small sample range from 8 to 41 bps, averaging about 25 bps.  Some older surveys suggest that OCIOs ask for between 30 and 100 bps.  Well, they can ask.  But we think some of those circulated numbers are optimistic.  The space is crowded and competitive, and getting more so.

We think 25 to 40 bps is closer to current actual fees.  We note that even an established, top-of-the-league firm like Alice Handy’s Investure seems to be getting no more than 41 bps in FY2015. 

The two firms charging only 8 bps are special cases.  We think Hirtle gave Berea College a low-ball rate years ago on the grounds that Berea serves low-income Appalachian students, charges no tuition, and operates on a very lean budget.

The number for Verger really only represents the comp for Jim Dunn himself.  Verger is a proper North Carolina LLC, and also an SEC-registered RIA, seeking clients beyond Wake Forest. 

But it appears that WFU is the majority equity-holder and is required by accounting rules to report Verger as a consolidated entity.  And that implies that it has to report Mr. Dunn as an employee on its IRS 990.  We think WFU’s total fee to Verger is two or three times that number, even though it isn’t disclosed.

If fees were the only consideration, the outsourcing decision would be a no-brainer.  But, of course, the decision is much more complex than that, an issue we will discuss in greater detail in our next Skorina’s ultimate outsourcer (OCIO) list.

Fiddles and finance: Navigating an inefficient market

Our amateur analysis of this dataset has convinced us of what we already intuitively thought: the market for investment management talent is pretty inefficient.  Paying a bigger salary doesn’t necessarily ensure that an institution gets better performance.

Fund managers are used to trading in relatively efficient markets.  Corners of it (such as U.S. treasuries) are so ultra-efficient that even quants wielding super-computers can’t find arbitrage opportunities.  Treasuries are uniform commodities, information flows at the speed of thought, and transaction costs are very low.

This is much less true in other corners of the investment universe, but there is still usually enough data and trading volume to give investors at least the illusion of rational cause-and-effect relationships.

In truly inefficient markets, things are very different.  Consider 18th-century Italian violins, for example.

A violin made by Guarneri in 1743, known as Il Canone Guarneri (Guarneri’s “cannon,” for its volume) was played by the 19th-century virtuoso Nicolo Paganini, and is worth about $4,000,000.

Fiddles like this are the opposite of uniform commodities.  They have histories and names; they are celebrities in their own right.  On the other hand, you can find good, though relatively obscure, instruments of the same vintage on E-Bay or Amazon for “only” a few tens of thousands of dollars.  They were never owned or played by anyone famous, so they don’t command a big price at auction.

Prices are also driven by larger market forces.  Collectibles in general, as an asset class, rise and fall in favor like any other asset class.

We would argue that the market we work in — the market for investment talent — is situated closer to the fiddle-end of the spectrum than to the T-Bill-end.  It’s lumpy, discontinuous and not terribly transparent.

Anyone eyeballing our big chart up above will easily pick out odd couples of CIOs who have pretty similar performance at funds of roughly the same size, but who have quite disparate paychecks.

Geography; personal chemistry; and, above all, the timing of hiring, all influence the value of CIOs in our inefficient market.  And, some schools just prefer to pay more of the CIO’s comp as bonus and less as base.  Others prefer the inverse.  This may have to do with the background of the board or committee members.

One important factor in market efficiency is transaction cost.  From the institution’s POV, hiring a CIO is expensive in both time and money.  And, as headhunters, our fee is a transaction cost.

We’re a very efficient firm, to be sure.  But, our inefficient market suits us just fine. 

————————————————–

Things don’t just happen; things are made to happen

— John F. Kennedy

Modern financial economics argues that changes in asset prices and (therefore) returns are essentially random phenomena.  This Random Walk Hypothesis is consistent with – although not exactly equivalent to – the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH).

These concepts are powerful, elegant and mathematically tractable, and they’ve won Nobel prizes.  Sometimes, they even seem to correspond to reality.

Still, not everyone – theorist or practitioner — takes those ideas straight.  (Those that do buy index funds).

We are professionally obliged to believe with President Kennedy that people, including chief investment officers, can, to a significant extent, make things happen. 

Burton Malkiel may have confidently issued the 11th edition of his seminal A Random Walk Down Wall Street.  But up at MIT, Andrew Lo, a rising star in financial econ, who’s first book: A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street, came out in 1999, has published a brand-new opus:  Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought (2017).  It’s not only up to date, but surprisingly readable.

If you’re not ready to spring for the book, then a warmup to his more recent work is a 2004 paper in the Journal of Portfolio Management: The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis: Market efficiency from an evolutionary perspective.

A PDF of the journal article is available here:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.495.412&rep=rep1&type=pdf

We’re hopelessly unqualified to evaluate his work.  But we can make an observation about its contingent usefulness to investors.

Assuming that Dr. Lo’s AMH turns out to be closer to reality than classical EMH, then it implies that investors can arrive at profitable investment strategies, at least for a while. 

The profitability of strategies will wax and wane as the environment and the number of competitors change.  Arbitrage opportunities will open and close over time.  Then new strategies must be crafted to meet new conditions and exploit new opportunities. 

An Efficient Market is a special case within the larger framework of Dr. Lo’s Adaptive Market.  A near-EM in his world is a possible, but relatively unusual situation.

In fact, Dr. Lo describes a world that is intuitively familiar to working investors.

The rationality of investors may be “bounded,” but it is still be good enough to find profitable investments, as long as they stay nimble and aren’t afraid to innovate.

This is a great relief to us, since it implies that paying people to manage money is not irrational.  And, by implication, paying us to recruit them might be a very good idea.

————————————————–

The Skorina Letter

Each issue explores how the world’s most accomplished asset managers think and invest.  Original content includes profiles and interviews with industry veterans and research on compensation and investment performance.

Our insights and commentary come from our clients – board members, CEOs, chief investment officers – and the global investment community within which we work as executive search professionals.

Institutional investors operate at the crossroads of capital, talent, and ideas, shepherding over seventy trillion dollars in global assets.  It’s a constantly evolving spectacle and The Skorina Letter gives readers a ringside seat.

Prior issues can be found in “archives” on our website, 

http://www.charlesskorina.com/

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