Investment Policies

Policy Portfolio

Policy Portfolio Asset Allocation Recommendation for Calendar Year 2018 (in %)

Policy Portfolio Range
Traditional Investments
Consisting of:
Total, Publicly-traded long equities 33 32-35
Fixed Income 5 4-6
Cash (not held by managers) 3 (1)-4
Total, Traditional Investments 41 35-45
Alternative Investments
Consisting of:
Hedge Funds 27 25-29
Private Equity 22 20-24
Real Assets 10 10-12
Total, Alternative Investments 59 55-65
TOTAL 100 100

Approved by the Investment Committee on 9/25/2018

Investment Philosophy and Policy Statement

I. Philosophy


The University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees has delegated the authority for investment decisions to its Investment Committee (Committee). The University of Rochester’s Office of Institutional Resources (Office), under the supervision of the Committee, provides investment management services to the University of Rochester (University) and certain affiliated organizations or foundations (Foundations). Assets are held in custodial accounts or in limited partnerships within the University’s Long-Term Investment Pool (Pool) consisting of the University’s endowment and other funds intended to be invested over long time periods. Other pools of capital such as operating funds or split-interest gifts may also be managed by the Committee and the Office, either separately or in other investment pools. In addition to guiding the University’s investment process, the policies contained herein comply with NYPMIFA as adopted by New York in 2010.


The Committee and the Office manage the Pool in accordance with an Investment Policy Statement. In recommending investment actions to the Committee, the Office exercises ordinary diligence and prudence and may engage, with Committee approval, a consultant to assist it in performing its duties.


The primary objective in managing the Pool is to maximize long-term real investment returns commensurate with the risk tolerance of the University. To achieve this objective, the Committee and the Office manage the Pool in an attempt to achieve returns which over multi-year periods, but not necessarily over shorter time periods, exceed the returns on a passively investable benchmark. Recognizing that the University seeks outstanding students, faculty, and staff and wishes to provide them with appropriate resources, the Committee and the Office will also evaluate the Pool in relation to similar private universities (Close Peer Group). In approaching asset allocation and portfolio construction, the Committee does not employ market timing, or high concentration in any particular asset class; instead, the Committee recognizes that certain actions, such as adjusting asset allocation, acting to preserve capital or altering leverage or liquidity in times of unusual market or economic conditions, can improve performance and/or reduce risk. To implement these objectives, the Committee may retain investment managers who are flexible in their investment approach in addition to those seeking to outperform benchmark indices.


The Committee and the Office will establish, annually, a long-term investment return target and asset allocation ranges (Policy Portfolio), recognizing that available returns are influenced by economic and market conditions and must not be driven by spending needs. The Committee and the Office calculate and communicate the Pool’s risk and return estimates to the University and Foundations to assist them in setting spending rates and to help in long term planning. The Policy Portfolio will be used by the University in establishing financial models for budgetary planning. The Policy Portfolio is established after analysis and modeling by the Office of factors which influence investment returns and risks of various asset classes, including possible impacts of inflation or deflation. In establishing the Policy Portfolio the extremes of investing for preservation of principal and current income on one hand, and maximum return without regard for risk on the other, are to be avoided.

II. Responsibilities and Practices


Committee responsibilities include:

  1. Establishing an Investment Policy Statement to guide investment practices over a period of five years or more, including an appropriate benchmark.
  2. Establishing an annual Policy Portfolio to guide asset allocation.
  3. Approving the hiring of investment firms.
  4. Monitoring Office actions to ensure compliance with policies.
  5. Monitoring the returns and characteristics of the Pool relative to the Policy Portfolio and Peer Group.


1. Benchmarking

The benchmark used to evaluate the overall performance of the Pool is a mix of 80% equity and 20% fixed income, which provides an investable passive measure to evaluate active asset allocation decisions.

The current equity component of the benchmark is the MSCI ACWI. The Bloomberg Barclay’s 1-3 Year U.S. Government/Credit Index is the fixed income benchmark.  For portfolio construction, the equity component may be weighted by GDP to reflect global economic activity.

Given the University of Rochester is located in the United States, and a majority of its expenses are in U.S. dollars, the S&P 500 is included as a benchmark for informational and comparative purposes but does not represent the opportunity set on which the equity program is based.

2. Delegation

The Committee may delegate to the Office, in accordance with the Investment Policy Statement and Policy Portfolio, responsibility for:

  1. Managing day-to-day investment operations.
  2. Terminating manager relationships.
  3. Rebalancing
  4. Selling securities; however, purchasing securities must be approved by the Committee.
  5. All other actions associated with managing an investment office, including budgeting, staffing, hiring a consultant, custodian, or other vendors, etc.

3. Proxy Voting

The Investment Committee delegates to investment managers the authority to vote proxies. However, the Committee may from time to time direct a manager vote on certain shareholder resolutions.



The Office manages the Pool, within the responsibilities set forth below by the Committee, and assists the Committee in developing the Investment Policy Statement and the Policy Portfolio. The Office’s responsibilities include:

1. Asset Allocation and Tactical Decisions

Based upon the University’s risk tolerance together with capital market risk and return estimates, the Committee and the Office will annually establish asset allocation targets and ranges in order to achieve the objectives stated in the Investment Policy Statement. The Office adjusts the portfolio within the established ranges for rebalancing or in gradual response to unusual conditions (such as reducing equity exposure after a prolonged period of excess returns) but will not engage in short-term speculation on the direction of markets.

2. Manager Selection and Monitoring

The Office continuously monitors and evaluates investment strategies and investment firms with a goal of identifying superior opportunities. Prior to hiring investment firms the Office investigates, analyzes and documents the investment process, organization, and staff of such firms. This effort continues after firms are hired. Investment firms are expected to implement strategies, within guidelines that are provided to them, that are likely to achieve or exceed targeted returns. Certain firms may be given discretion on asset allocation.

3. Manager Diversification

For investments with returns derived solely through publicly-traded markets, such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and similar securities, allocations are limited only by the ranges expressed by the Policy Portfolio. For external active managers where underlying securities are not held in custody by the University, no more than 8% of the Pool can be allocated to a single such manager. For external active managers of long-term illiquid partnerships, such as private equity and real asset funds, a limitation of 10% applies to the market value of any existing investments plus undrawn commitments with the firm.

4. Reporting

The Office provides quarterly reports to the Committee and Foundations describing the Pool’s asset allocation relative to the Policy Portfolio, risk, liquidity and returns. Reporting also includes performance of investment firms and underlying asset classes relative to benchmarks. The Office provides summary reports to the University that explains the Pool’s investment performance relative to the Policy Portfolio and significant actions by the Office and the Committee over the prior quarter. The Office also provides a comprehensive and highly confidential annual report to the Committee, Foundations and the University on all of its activities, on the investment firms managing the Pool, and with comparisons of the Pool to the Close Peer Group.

5. Tactical Investments

The Investment Office is granted flexibility to purchase certain investments amounting to no more than 10% of the Pool between Committee meetings. These may include assets that decline in price by 20% (or more) and which are viewed by both the Office and the University’s investment consultant as priced below intrinsic value.

Committee members will receive the recommendation, electronically, after approval by the Chairman. Committee members are invited to comment, but a vote for approval will not be sought.

The Committee Chairman may instruct the Investment Office to sell or alter the size of tactical investments at any time after an initial investment The Investment Committee will receive notification at the time a tactical investment is sold.

6. Statement on Corporate Shareholder Responsibility

The University’s mission includes education, research, creative expression, and provision of healthcare. These activities are conducted according to a set of core values, which include freedom of expression, equality of persons, respect for cultural diversity, dissemination of knowledge in the public interest, fair labor standards, human rights, democratic governance and environmental sustainability. The University’s investment policy seeks to assure the consistency of institutional support strategies with core values.
The University invests along with peer institutions with asset managers in long-term investment pools. These managers are accountable to uphold norms of corporate social responsibility. It is the University’s intention that its resources be invested in ways that are ethical, sustainable and consistent with all relevant U.S., foreign and international laws, as well as pertinent local ordinances and regulations. To this end, the University includes the following question in an annual questionnaire directed to investment managers:
The Investment Office, in monitoring managers in relation to what are known as corporate socially responsible (CSR) investing practices, seeks to assure that holdings in the portfolio adhere to applicable laws and regulations. These include CSR matters pertaining to the environment, fairness in employment, corporate governance, health matters, political engagement, etc. Please describe how your firm evaluates and considers CSR matters in your investment process and disclose any areas of concern that arose in portfolio holdings over the past year. If your firm has a CSR policy, please attach it to this response.

Approved by the Investment Committee on 9/25/2018

Secondary Pool Investment Policy

Funds in the secondary pool are invested within the Long Term Investment Pool and receive the net return of the Pool. Reports are provided to participants monthly, approximately 30 days after each month end. The secondary pool requires a three-year lock-up for all new accounts but offers monthly liquidity thereafter. The required minimum initial investment is $1,000,000.

Socially Responsible Investment Policy

The Office of Institutional Resources will respond to written inquiries from members of the University of Rochester community (students, faculty, staff and alumni) relating to specific investment holdings within the endowment. The University does not release a list of its investment holdings, but will acknowledge, upon written request, whether or not the University is the owner of a specific security. The Office of Institutional Resources will also submit to the Investment Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees, on a case-by-case basis, requests for action pertaining to specific securities.

Policy on Investments in Companies Operating in Sudan »

Ethical Investment Advisory Committee (“EIAC”) »