In 2000, the College's investment portfolio was primarily allocated to traditional long-only equity and fixed income strategies. During the next five years, the Committee on Investments - seeking to further diversify the portfolio --developed a series of subcommittees, in each case engaging alumni who were professionals in the management of specific asset classes. Project areas included, among others, distressed debt, emerging markets, hedge funds, and core and opportunistic real estate. Returns over this period outperformed peers and market benchmarks.
During 2005, the Committee on Investments began discussing whether the College had outgrown its current relationship with its investment advisor. Although the College's returns had been above average, assets under management and the number and types of managers had grown, creating the need for more extensive oversight. In 2005-2006, the Committee on Investments met with several firms that provide various levels of investment advisory services and outsourced Chief Investment Officer (CIO) functions.
In May 2006, with an eye toward continuing strong investment success and sensing a need to address the growing complexity of the endowment portfolio, the Committee on Investments recommended to the Board of Trustees that the College engage Investure LLC, a consortial investment office founded by Alice Handy in January 2004. Prior to founding Investure, Ms. Handy was the CIO for the University of Virginia for 29 years. During her time at the helm of UVA's endowment, assets grew from $60 million to $2 billion and regularly performed in the top decile of returns nationally. The Committee on Investments believed that partnering with Investure LLC as a manager of Dickinson's investments was a vital step in establishing an endowment appropriate to the vision and ambitions of the College.
Located in Charlottesville, Va., Investure serves as the consortial investment office for Dickinson College, Barnard College, Carnegie Endowment, Colonial Williamsburg, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Middlebury College, Smith College, Trinity College, the University of Tulsa, the Commonwealth Fund, Henry Luce Foundation and the Houston Endowment, managing over $10 billion in assets. Investure is a recognized leader in the endowment and foundation investment management industry, having pioneered the full-service outsourced investment office model. Participating in a pool of this size provides Dickinson with extraordinarily broad diversification and access to investment opportunities which would generally not be accessible to an endowment of our size.
Under this arrangement, Dickinson's Committee on Investments retains its fiduciary responsibility for the endowment; approves all changes to asset allocation, manager selection and policy guidelines; and reviews performance regularly, just as it did before. The addition of a fully developed, highly innovative team of professionals at Investure LLC, however, has freed the Committee on Investments to function at a more strategic level.
Investure LLC is charged with the responsibility for developing, implementing, and administering the Investment Policy. Financial professionals of the (currently) twelve partner institutions collaborate regularly on audit, legal, financial trusteeship and accounting matters. The depth of staffing at Investure and at ExOfficio - Investure's outsourced accounting function - provides a heightened level of oversight and confidence in an era of public concern about alternative investment valuations and due diligence.