As endowment nears $1B, Mount Holyoke seeks investment officer

  • Mount Holyoke College grounds supervisor Ron McMahon plants rows of yellow and white chrysanthemums near the southwest approach to the campus at Morgan and College streets in 2013. KEVIN GUTTING—FILE PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2019 4:59:27 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Mount Holyoke College has begun a search for the school’s first-ever chief investment officer.

The move to hire a permanent CIO — first reported by the publication Institutional Investor — comes as the school’s endowment has grown to $780 million as of June 30, 2018.

“With the steady increase in assets and the complexity of the investment strategies, the Board of Trustees has decided to create the role of Chief Investment Officer and to form a dedicated investment office to be located preferably in Boston,” reads the college’s job posting for the CIO position.

College spokeswoman Christian Feuerstein said neither the vice president of finance and administration nor the head of the board of trustees’ investment committee was available for interviews Wednesday afternoon.

Mount Holyoke’s endowment generates about 25 percent of the college’s annual operating budget, according to the job posting. Previously, the college has relied on the trustees’ investment committee and an internal investment consultant to manage the endowment.

Currently, 40 percent of Mount Holyoke’s endowment is invested in global equities; 25 percent in “marketable alternatives,” which are assets that don’t fall into typical investment categories, such as art or hedge funds; 15 percent in private equity and venture capital; 10 percent in fixed income assets; and another 10 percent in real assets, according to the college.

Amherst College is the only other local college to employ a CIO — Mauricia Geissler, who has been with the college since 2003.

The management of Mount Holyoke’s endowment has been the subject of controversy for some students on campus who have pushed the college to divest from fossil fuels. In 2017, the board of trustees voted against divesting, saying their ultimate responsibility is to “preserve and protect our endowment.”

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.


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