Texas Tech University System endowment (TTUS) is looking to hire a senior investment officer and hopes to make an offer to a candidate by the summer. “We are building out the investment team and are in the process of onboarding two analysts right now,” said Dan Parker, Deputy CIO, Texas Tech University System. The role is a new position at the endowment. The new hire will work with the existing staff and report to the Chief Investment Officer Tim Barrett.
The TTUS Office of Investments is responsible for the day-to-day management of a $1.2 billion endowment fund as well as $800 million in intermediate-term assets, for a combined $2 billion investment program. Oversight is provided by a nine-member Investment Advisory Committee.
The system is focused on hiring a candidate who has already had a fair amount of asset allocation experience in the institutional space. “Endowment or foundation experience is preferred, but we are casting a wide net,” Parker said. “We also welcome smart allocators at pension funds,” he noted.
The new hire will work as a generalist investor as opposed to focusing on a specific asset class, as the System’s investment team currently works as generalists, Parker said. However, “they will ultimately have some more focused responsibility,” Parker added.
The hiring process for the investment officer will probably be accelerated in June and July, Parker said, and “we will hopefully get something wrapped up around the first of the fiscal year, which is September 1st.” Texas Tech is not using the services of a consultant to perform the search; it is being conducted internally, Parker noted.
Expanding the team
“For the last few years, the team has consisted of three investment professionals, including the CIO, as well as two operations personnel and one administrative assistant,” Parker said. “So this year, we’re doubling the number of investment professionals on the team [including the analysts],” Parker said. The two analysts will start on June 1st, Parker said declining to name the analysts.
One reason for the expansion of the investment team is the significant rise in the fund’s assets under management last year, to $2 billion from $1.2 billion. The increase is due more to a reorganization of funds within the system than to an increase in assets, Parker explained. Three pools of capital make up the University System. “There is the endowment [$1.2 billion] which is what we have been running, then there is the intermediate pool, [$800 million] which the Office of Investments is now also managing, and then there is the operating cash, which remains the responsibility of the CFOs, office, [Gary Barnes],”Parker said.
The additional $800 million that makes up the intermediate- term pool of capital had previously been managed out of the CFO’s office in Lubbock [Texas]. “It was transferred to our control last year,” Parker said, “as part of a reorganization in an effort to leverage the expertise of the investment team, with the operating cash remaining the responsibility of the CFO’s office.”
The investment officer job listing is currently posted on the Texas Tech University website and on Parker’s LinkedIn page. “We have already had a number of applicants and lots of interest. Our original intent was to keep the posting up for 90 days, but I expect it will be up for less than that. There is no point in getting 500 applications for one position, and we have already had strong responses, so I don’t expect it to be up for too much longer,” Parker said.
Parker said he was happy with the quality of the candidates who applied for the analyst positions. “And we think the investment officer role will receive a similarly highly qualified pool of applicants.“This is a great opportunity for a mid-level investment professional to join a high-performing (top quartile) endowment team in one of the fastest growing cities in the country,” Parker said.
According to the posted job description: “As a senior member of the team, the successful candidate will work closely with the existing staff and have monitoring responsibility over managers and co-investments within assigned asset classes. The candidate will also provide research, analysis and recommendations on managers and co-investments within the assigned asset classes. The candidate is also expected to participate in discussion on any and all manager selections due to the small nature of the investment team.”