Comp and chief investment officers

11 / 04 / 2018
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by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

In this issue

  • Chief investment officer pay at 74 top endowments
  • Skorina seeks a chief investment officer
  • Vickie Fuller: The after-life of a CIO
  • Compensation and contretemps at U Michigan
  • Postscript: CIO pay versus school president’s comp

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Vickie Fuller: The after-life of a CIO

In our last letter we featured Vickie Fuller, retiring CIO of the $200 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund.

She intimated to us that she was considering a board position, but that she hadn’t yet pulled the trigger.

Then, at the end of July, the publicly-listed Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB) announced her appointment to their board.

Tulsa-based Williams processes and transports natural gas, so what followed was annoying but predictable.

An outrage outfit called (appropriately) Sludge, with some like-minded media allies, produced a hit-piece which they called New York Pension Chief Cashes in on Natural Gas.

It was echoed by the New York Post, with: Ex-pension chief’s cushy gas company gig raises eyebrows.

It’s rife with dark hints and insinuations that, since NYSCRF had had some investments with Williams, Ms. Fuller must have been the beneficiary of some greasy quid-pro-quo.

Williams is an S&P 500 company, so virtually every institutional investor on the planet has a piece of their equity.  And, if NYSCRF held Williams’ (investment-grade) bonds, you can be sure that Ms. Williams – a crack credit-analyst and bond maven in her previous jobs – had the numbers to prove they were a suitable buy for her fund.

Ms. Fuller, prudently, chose not to dignify these charges with any public comment.  But, we feel no such constraint.

Vickie Fuller, beginning with no special advantages, achieved success in both the corporate and non-profit spheres with a lifetime of hard work.

And, we highly doubt Ms. Fuller was looking for a “cushy” job when she accepted an offer from Williams.

She was a hot property as a potential board member and she was brought to Williams by a recruitment firm following a nation-wide search.

We pointed out in our letter that she appeared to be underpaid compared to (male, white) CIOs running comparably big public pensions.  If she now has a chance to be properly compensated by helping to manage an $8 billion energy company, then more power to her.

She’ll be making something like $340 thousand (the average director comp in cash and stock in 2017) for serving on two key committees (audit, and governance) on the relatively small board of a big, complex company.  That’s about standard for a company of this size in this industry.

And, she’ll be worth every penny of it.

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Skorina seeks CIO for $1.5 Billion portfolio

We’re looking for a Chief Investment Officer to manage a $1.5 Billion investment portfolio.  This is a new position with a highly rated, multi-line insurance company located in the greater Philadelphia area.

We need a senior investment officer with experience at a top-tier asset owner such as an insurer, health system, endowment, foundation, pension fund, family office, or institutional asset manager.

A strong background in fixed income/credit is necessary.  And experience with manager search and selection in opportunistic credit is highly desirable.

Compensation for this key position is competitive.

If you’re interested, send me your resume. If you have a friend or colleague who might be suitable, please spread the word.

Charles Skorina & Co. is the exclusive search agent for this position.

Contact: skorina@charlesskorina.com

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Who are the best-paid endowment CIOs?

Compensation is a delicate issue; but recruiters need to keep track of it.  And, we see no reason why we shouldn’t share some of that bounty with our readers.   (See our complete compensation chart just below.)

Most of it is publicly available, anyway; as long as you’re willing to scrounge for it.  Private schools and some publics disclose it in IRS filings.  The hitch is the long time-lag — more than two years — before the data is publicly available.  The corresponding data for most public schools 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.

And, even when public-school CIO comp is published, it can’t always be trusted.  Clever college administrators have sometimes found (or constructed) loopholes in those sunshine laws which let them conceal part of the CIO pay-package.

A recent and noisy case in point arose in Michigan.  The official University of Michigan salary-disclosure listing (page 447) for 2017 showed CIO Erik Lundberg’s total comp as $720,000.

We’ve been skeptical of that number for a while, but the U was eventually prodded into disclosing that Mr. Lundberg actually made $2 million in 2017.

Although the gross number had become public, the Detroit Free Press still sued the University to obtain details about how it was calculated.  

The judge sided with the Freep, but the university argued that they had legitimate reasons for keeping them private.

“Despite the court’s ruling, we believe disclosure of the … Incentive Plan will put U-M at a competitive disadvantage,” a school spokesman said.  “Because there are very few public universities in our endowment peer group, virtually no comparison [sic] schools will ever have to make their plans public.  These are the employers against which the university competes for talent recruitment and retention.”

The fact that a major university would go to some trouble to avoid disclosing that information does speak to the highly competitive market for top CIOs.  If you have a good one (and Mr. Lundberg is very good), there’s always anxiety that someone with deeper pockets will whisk him or her away.   And, if you’re crafting a competitive offer, it certainly helps to know exactly what you have to beat.

As the Lundberg case confirmed, these pay packages are complex.  In our chart below, we can only offer the bare numbers.  The IRS requires a certain degree of granularity and, in most cases, we see items for base salary, bonus, “other,” and total.  What we can’t do is explain how these numbers were arrived at.  The contracts at the larger endowments are often custom-crafted in negotiations between employer and employee, and no two are exactly the same.

We do observe that some contracts mandate a biggish base salary and smallish bonus; others, the opposite.  But the incentive formula is usually confidential.  And items in the “other” column are not always explicable.

Our chart shows W2 earnings only, paid in calendar year 2015 and taxable to the CIO.  Other, non-W2 items benefitting the CIO are often reported to the IRS (and are sometimes substantial) but we omit them for our purposes.

To take one example, when Jagdeep Bachher moved down from Alberta to northern California as CIO at University of California Regents he landed in a far more expensive housing market.  His new employer gave him a $1.8 million mortgage loan at (presumably) a very nice interest rate.  This kind of bennie has long been typical for school presidents, but it’s becoming more common for senior administrators.

The reader should also be warned that pay for a given year, while accurate, is not always typical for that CIO.

An example is Douglas Phillips at University of Rochester.  He received a big payout classified as “other” in calendar 2015.  This is probably deferred comp which was accrued over several years and finally disbursed per his contract.  It was probably meant to motivate retention, with some or all of the accrued pay forfeited if the employee leaves too soon.  Mr. Phillips is an effective and well-credentialed CIO and Rochester, understandably, wants to fend off offers from other, bigger schools.  His typical pay is less than half the total shown for CY2015.

There are probably other cases of non-typical payouts on the list, but we can’t identify all of them.

Where’s Harvard?  And other mysteries.

We wanted this chart to be a book-end to our reporting of investment performance for FY2017.  Accordingly, we wanted to list only CIOs who were the managers-of-record for that period so that pay could be usefully compared to performance.  But, obviously, we could only report pay for CY2015 if the CIO had held the same job in that prior period.  We’re convoluted, but we’re consistent.

Harvard’s CIO-of-record in FY2017 was Narv Narvekar.   But he was only hired in late 2016, and he had no pay for that position in CY2015.  For the record, the CIO back in CY2015 was Stephen Blyth who had total comp of $14.8 million (it was both his first and last year).  Most of that consisted of a $13.6 million bonus.  It would be highly misleading to ascribe that comp to Mr. Narvekar, so we didn’t.  (He was paid $4.3 million by Columbia University in that period, but that was under a different contract with a different employer with a smaller AUM, making it triply apples-to-oranges.)

While Harvard is the most conspicuous case, a few other CIOs are also MIA in this chart for similar reasons.

The two-year lag in comp reporting is annoying, although we get to blame the IRS.  But, in an upcoming supplement to this letter, we’ll look at recent historical trends in CIO pay, and will even daringly attempt to extrapolate what current (calendar 2018) pay may be for some of these CIOs based on that trendline.

We should also mention that we used a $1 billion AUM lower bound for this list.  About half the schools in the $500 million – $1 billion range also have a dedicated CIO or equivalent, but they are omitted here, however well paid they may have been.

(Compensation as of calendar year-end 2015.  AUM as of June 30, 2017)

 

COMPENSATION: TOP 74 CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICERS

Baseline compensation year: December 31, 2015
(latest available public filings)

R

a

n

k

 AUM    FY17   $bn

Chief   Investment   Officer

University

Base  Comp

 Bonus + Other

     Total            Comp       CY 2015

1

9.4

Malpass, Scott

University of Notre Dame

$1,013,777

$3,257,348

$4,271,125

2

27.2

Swensen, David F.

Yale University

$849,202

$3,105,479

$3,954,681

3

10.0

Holland, Peter

Columbia University

$825,814

$3,045,788

$3,871,602

4

23.8

Golden, Andrew

Princeton University

$848,604

$2,673,732

$3,522,336

5

10.4

McLean, William H.

Northwestern University

$792,425

$2,556,872

$3,349,297

6

7.9

Triplett, Neal F.

Duke University

$635,256

$2,331,085

$2,966,341

7

2.1

Phillips, Douglas W.

University of Rochester

$643,488

$1,906,877

$2,550,365

8

41.3

(ex) Zimmerman, Bruce E.

UTIMCO: U of Texas & Texas A&M

$701,906

$1,663,353

$2,365,259

9

6.4

(ex) Kochard, Lawrence

University of Virginia

$607,549

$1,687,873

$2,295,422

10

1.5

Volent, Paula J.

Bowdoin College

$1,171,670

$1,005,450

$2,177,120

11

7.5

Schmid, Mark

University of Chicago

$656,616

$1,470,671

$2,127,287

12

10.9

Lundberg, Erik L.

University of Michigan

$600,000

$1,400,000

$2,000,000

13

15.0

Alexander, Seth

MIT

$619,417

$1,134,504

$1,753,921

14

6.9

(ex) Cahill, Mary

Emory University

$648,144

$1,051,275

$1,699,419

15

12.2

Ammon, Peter H.

University of Pennsylvania

$729,291

$951,314

$1,680,605

16

2.4

Blandford, Rob

Spider Mgmt Co (U of Richmond)

$569,246

$950,410

$1,519,656

17

1.9

Kuenster, Deborah

Wellesley College

$564,000

$835,422

$1,399,422

18

5.0

(ex) Peedin, Pamela L.

Dartmouth College

$526,230

$861,372

$1,387,602

19

2.1

(ex) Pulavarti, Srinivas {“Srini”)

UCLA

$761,250

$603,857

$1,365,107

20

1.3

Crigler, Jeremy

Tulane University

$380,000

$959,000

$1,339,000

21

3.0

King, Jonathon C.

University of North Carolina

$640,435

$582,288

$1,222,723

22

3.2

Dowling, Joseph L. III

Brown University

$576,639

$619,978

$1,196,617

23

2.0

Falls, Amy C.

Rockefeller University

$510,550

$597,536

$1,108,086

24

9.8

Bachher, Jagdeep

University of California Regents

$621,618

$485,070

$1,106,688

25

4.1

Hall, Anders W.

Vanderbilt University

$721,825

$377,916

$1,099,741

26

1.5

Hille, James R.

Texas Christian University

$557,396

$534,142

$1,091,538

27

5.8

Thacker, Allison

Rice University

$504,754

$583,748

$1,088,502

28

2.0

Hunnewell, Clarissa

Boston University

$565,000

$459,527

$1,024,527

29

2.5

Chilton, Collette

Williams College

$448,959

$571,656

$1,020,615

30

2.5

Ferguson, Keith

University of Washington

$948,400

$0

$948,400

31

5.1

Mazzocco, Lisa

U of Southern California

$608,503

$336,946

$945,449

32

1.8

(ex) Saviano, John-Austin

UC Berkeley

$476,139

$375,000

$851,139

33

1.2

Dunn, James J.

Verger Capital Mgt (Wake Forest)

$557,475

$283,478

$840,953

34

1.7

Barry, Michael K.

Georgetown University

$397,841

$441,800

$839,641

35

2.3

Zona, John J.

Boston College

$549,559

$285,010

$834,569

36

1.2

Walker, William

Baylor College of Medicine

$491,065

$341,319

$832,384

37

2.1

Gorence, Douglas J.

University of Minnesota

$474,120

$346,849

$820,969

38

2.6

Richland, Scott H.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

$517,394

$300,462

$817,856

39

1.4

Walter, Keith

University of Delaware

$408,502

$400,000

$808,502

40

2.7

Van Cleave, Julie M.

University of Wisconsin Fdn

$519,831

$213,790

$733,621

41

1.6

Reeser, William S.

University of Florida

$509,094

$214,042

$723,136

42

1.7

Dungan, Sally M.

Tufts University

$365,380

$348,881

$714,261

43

1.1

Gallo, Samuel N.

University System of Maryland Fdn

$343,731

$271,250

$614,981

44

4.3

Lane, John C.

Ohio State University

$576,564

$0

$576,564

45

1.2

Webb, R. Brian

Baylor University

$300,868

$260,248

$561,116

46

1.6

Johnson, Bradley J.

University of Oklahoma Foundation

$180,493

$360,986

$541,479

47

2.6

Ellison, Ellen

University of Illinois Foundation

$462,365

$70,000

$532,365

48

1.2

Gower, J. Michael

Rutgers University

$490,830

$22,562

$513,392

49

1.8

(ex) Staley, Sally

Case Western Reserve University

$283,460

$227,833

$511,293

50

2.0

Taylor, James B.

Georgia Tech Foundation

$350,921

$147,100

$498,021

51

24.8

Wallace, Robert F.

Stanford Management Company

$447,364

$32,682

$480,046

52

2.2

Stratten, Gary A.

Indiana University Foundation

$235,257

$241,820

$477,077

53

3.9

Marsh, Amy K.

University of Pittsburgh

$441,082

$16,921

$458,003

54

2.2

Kennedy, Charles A.

Carnegie Mellon University

$295,155

$158,347

$453,502

55

1.3

Scheer, Karl

University of Cincinnati Fdn

$334,869

$102,280

$437,149

56

1.1

Shear, Jonathan

University of Utah

$416,034

$0

$416,034

57

2.2

Geissler, Mauricia

Amherst College

$405,584

$1,518

$407,102

58

4.0

Pomeroy, John C. II

Pennsylvania State University

$400,000

$0

$400,000

59

1.0

Buck, Kevan C.

University of Tulsa

$334,847

$25,220

$360,067

60

1.8

(ex) Handley, Janet

Texas A&M Foundation

$290,193

$48,125

$338,318

61

1.4

Mason, Stuart

University of Minnesota

$318,544

$0

$318,544

62

1.3

Barrett, Tim

Texas Tech University

$312,752

$0

$312,752

63

2.2

Sisson, Karen

Pomona College

$269,830

$24,000

$293,830

64

2.0

Amstutz, Mark C.

Swarthmore College

$271,215

$0

$271,215

65

1.1

Peloquin-Dodd, Mary

North Carolina State University

$268,850

$0

$268,850

66

1.3

Moon, Don C.

Liberty University

$250,823

$0

$250,823

67

1.3

Shupp, Todd

University of Kentucky

$250,000

$0

$250,000

68

1.3

Harkins, David

UC San Francisco

$196,885

$52,839

$249,724

69

1.6

Richards, Thomas

University of Missouri System

$244,605

$0

$244,605

70

1.1

Whitworth, Gary A.

Saint Louis University

$232,982

$1,326

$234,308

71

1.4

Bethea, Jim

University of Iowa Foundation

$197,387

$360

$197,747

72

1.2

Mecherlee, Raymond P. “Rip”

University of Tennessee

$186,455

$0

$186,455

73

1.0

Dahnert, Stephen

Vassar College

$175,510

$701

$176,211

74

1.6

Neale, Brian

University of Nebraska Foundation

$158,241

$10,809

$169,050

* Rob Wallace, Stanford, start date July 2015. Total comp: considerably more than 990 filing


Some observations and a quick look at CIO vs. presidential pay

We mostly follow the industry-standard AUMs reported to NACUBO, but we depart from them in a few cases.  For example, because we are CIO-centric rather than school-centric, we report AUM for UTIMCO endowments as a whole and don’t distinguish between U. of Texas and Texas A&M since the endowments are mostly handled as a single pool under a single CIO who earns a single paycheck.  (The smaller TAM Foundation is managed separately.)

In a very few cases we estimated comp based on our industry knowledge, rather than omitting a major school.  E.g., the number for Mr. Pomeroy at Penn State is a very conservative estimate.  He almost certainly makes more.

We’re not going to do any deep mathematical analysis here, but certain patterns are pretty obvious.

CIO compensation is primarily a function of AUM.  There are other explanatory factors: relative performance, geography, private vs. public, and even prestige of the school, but they are usually swamped by the size of the fund.  So, the downward march of the comp rankings pretty closely follows the downward march of AUM on this list.

But there are exceptions.  The most obvious one here is Paula Volent at Bowdoin College.  Bowdoin ranks only 69th by AUM (FY2017), but 10th by CIO compensation in 2015.  Bowdoin only recently broke into the billion-plus club, but Ms. Volent — a Yale Investment Office alumna — has been consistently over-performing for years.  Her 5-year return as of FY2017 was the highest of any major endowment at 11.9 percent.  She exceeded even her mentor, the esteemed David Swensen, who was a close second with 11.7 percent.  For FY 2018 she’s turned in the best performance we’ve seen reported so far, a 1-year return of 15.7 percent.  We doubt if anyone is going to top it.

She has almost 19 years on the job and her comp reflects how badly her board would like to keep her.

Our top earner — Mr. Malpass at Notre Dame — is deservedly well-paid and isn’t going anywhere.  But over 5 years Bowdoin beat him by 170 basis points!

As an extra, added bonus for those who have read this far, let’s take a quick look at CIO vs. presidential pay at a few major schools.

In the corporate world, the CEO almost always commands the big bucks.  But in big-time academia, CEO pay often trails the CIO and probably the football and basketball coaches as well.

Here are our top-ten highest paid endowment chief investment officers for calendar year-end 2015 compared to the pay of their respective presidents in the same period.

Presidential pay is structured very differently from a CIO’s.  They generally get no performance bonus (or only a modest one).  But they may get significant “other” items to round up their total.  Presidents get perks like first-class air travel, chauffeurs, club memberships for themselves and their spouses, etc.  Much of this has to be declared as taxable W2 income to the employee per IRS rules and is therefore in our total.

Base salaries for presidents and CIOs at major schools may not be very different, but the big performance bonuses paid to the CIO can leave him or her making two or three times the president’s total.  This relationship does not necessarily hold at smaller schools, but it’s pretty consistently true at the biggest ones.

 

COMPENSATION

Chief Investment Officers vs. University Presidents

Baseline compensation year: December 31, 2015
(latest available public filings)

University

Chief   Investment   Officer

Total Pay   CY 2015

   

 University       President        

 Total Pay   CY 2015

Pay ratio:   CIO   to   Prez

University of Notre Dame

Malpass, Scott

$4,271,125

Jenkins, John I.

$787,144

5.4x

Yale University

Swensen, David F.

$3,954,681

Salovey, Peter

$1,103,747

3.6x

Columbia University

Holland, Peter

$3,871,602

Bollinger, Lee C.

$2,088,896

1.9x

Princeton University

Golden, Andrew

$3,522,336

Eisgruber, Christopher

$861,018

4.1x

Northwestern University

McLean, William H.

$3,349,297

Schapiro, Morton O.

$1,339,506

2.5x

Duke University

Triplett, Neal F.

$2,966,341

Brodhead, Richard H.

$1,182,780

2.5x

University of Rochester

Phillips, Douglas W.

$2,550,365

Seligman, Joel S.

$1,224,732

2.1x

UTIMCO: U of Texas & Texas A&M

(ex) Zimmerman, Bruce E.

$2,365,259

McRaven, William H.

$1,200,000

2.0x

University of Virginia

(ex) Kochard, Lawrence

$2,295,422

Sullivan, Teresa A.

$733,800

3.1x

Bowdoin College

Volent, Paula J.

$2,177,120

Rose, Clayton

$581,968

3.7x

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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

————————————————–

Charles Skorina & Company
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Chief Investment Officers ● Institutional Asset Managers
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skorina@charlesskorina.com
www.charlesskorina.com

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Prior:

J.P. Morgan – Credit and risk management
Ernst & Young – Systems and process consulting
US Army – Russian Linguist, Japan
University of Chicago, MBA, Finance
Michigan State University and 
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
Culver Academies

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