Investure, Llc, and Smith College

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UVA-F-1537 INVESTURE, LLC, AND SMITH COLLEGE In January 2004, Alice Handy’s new investment advisory firm, Investure, LLC, was attempting to land its first client, Smith College, an elite liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts with a $913 million endowment. Handy, fresh from her previous position as chief executive officer of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO), had 25 years of experience managing money and a track record of success. Over her career, Handy had directed increasing amounts of funds to a class of investments known as “alternative assets,” which included a range of investments other than publicly traded stocks and bonds. She had also developed a philosophy about…show more content…
She also found herself involved in fundraising efforts when donations to UVa’s capital campaign involved life trusts. During the 1990s, as state support of higher education dwindled, endowment funds took on increasing importance for UVa and other public universities. Handy’s position was restructured to enable her to dedicate more time to the investment side. The previously “lowkey” staff and endowment both grew rapidly as Handy’s team began conducting proprietary research. Soon nearly a dozen investment professionals and five accounting and administrative staff members were managing the endowment. In 2003, after 29 years with the university, Handy determined it was time for a change. In July of that year, she announced her retirement as chief executive officer of UVIMCO, leaving behind a healthy endowment and a strong record of performance. UVIMCO’s asset allocation had changed considerably during Handy’s tenure, and the endowment had enjoyed strong performance (Exhibits 1 and 2). UVa’s endowment had generated an average annual return of more than 13% since Handy’s arrival and it had grown to almost $2 billion in market value (Exhibit 3). Through her years of service, Handy had developed an extensive list of contacts including business leaders, asset managers, venture capitalists, and philanthropists.
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