The situation

Eric* was a board member of Millwood Day,* the private school that his three children attended. Like Eric, many of Millwood’s board members also worked in finance. As a successful investor, he had extensive experience in financial markets.

In early 2017 he contacted J.P. Morgan’s Endowments and Foundations Group for investing assistance for the school.

“We’re all investments professionals, Eric explained. “So we understand how complex and time-consuming this is. That’s why at a certain point, we agreed it made the most sense to outsource.”

At the time, the board members actively managed the school’s endowment themselves, without outside help or guidance. But it just wasn’t working. While they had the skills to understand markets and manage the endowment, they didn’t have the time.

Investing at the institutional level is complex. To do it well requires not only resources and skills, but also a lot of time. What Millwood needed, Eric told us, was a team of specialists who could handle the endowment’s complex financial needs on a discretionary basis.

Our approach

As Millwood’s OCIO, our Endowments and Foundations Group worked with the board to determine how we could best help them. That help included:

  • Investment policy statement (IPS) alignment. An IPS is a blueprint designed to guide directors, align stakeholders and lay the groundwork for an endowment’s investment plan. Millwood’s goals were at the front and center of our approach. Once we understood Millwood’s investment parameters, we customized a portfolio to suit their needs.
  • Portfolio management. Our experienced Endowments and Foundations Group took over stewarding Millwood’s investments. Most importantly, the team diversified their portfolio across multiple asset classes.
  • Investment manager selection. Millwood’s busy board members didn’t have the time to find and evaluate high-quality investment managers.  The Endowments and Foundations Group leverages the firms’ robust manager selection team to find, evaluate and monitor the most appropriate strategies for our not-for-profit clients.
  • Sustainable investing. Millwood wanted its students and their families to be proud of the school’s commitment to the planet. Investing its endowment in sustainable companies was a way to do so beyond curriculum and programs. Our Endowments and Foundations Group brought in our sustainable investing team. Together, we customized a portfolio that met both Millwood’s financial and ethical investment goals.

*Names and details have been changed to protect our clients’ identities. Information is not a guarantee of future results.