The Investment Stewardship Academy

Whether you’re a trustee, investment committee member, or senior staff, you play a crucial role in stewarding long-term capital for your institution. But do you know how to develop and hone the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in an increasingly complex investment environment? If you don’t have the answers yet, don’t worry—we’re here as a resource to guide you along the way, through the Investment Stewardship Academy educational offerings— a series of live and on-demand sessions designed for institutional investors.

isa-image2

Event Details

The launch of Commonfund Institute Online commences in Fall 2021. The 2021 Investment Stewardship Academy will be the first virtual program available in this new platform. 

Sign up to receive details on the 2021 program when they are released.

Who Should attend the academy?

Program content is geared towards trustees, investment committee members, and senior staff of qualified institutional investors, such as:

  • Endowments
  • Foundations
  • Operating charities
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Other select institutions

2021 Agenda

Program Syllabus

The curriculum for the Investment Stewardship Academy 2021 virtual program will be based on the six Ps of investment stewardship—purpose, policy, process, portfolio, people and perspective. Although institutions may define their missions in very different ways, all see a healthy endowment as essential to their long-term viability. The six Ps can therefore be applied across the nonprofit sector: to public or private colleges and universities; independent schools; private, family and community foundations; and nonprofit healthcare organizations.

Program Syllabus

Course Themes

PURPOSE

A critically important asset for many nonprofit organizations is their endowment, sometimes referred to by a different name such as long-term investment fund. So important is this pool of financial assets that for many institutions it is the difference between fulfilling their missions and being forced to lower their aspirations or even ceasing to operate.

 

POLICY

The central document guiding the management of a nonprofit institution’s endowment—essentially, the strategic plan of the investment committee—is the investment policy statement (IPS). The IPS should be specific, embodying in concrete terms the best thinking of the board of trustees about the investment pool, its goals and its purposes; but it also needs to be sufficiently flexible to guide the board through environments that may be very different from those prevailing at the time of its adoption.

 

PROCESS

Fiduciary effectiveness is a matter of structure, processes and people, i.e., the governance structure of the organization, the processes within that structure and the people who inhabit that structure (the decision-makers). The key elements of structure are professionalism, the composition of the board, how engaged the board is and how transparent the organization is to its constituencies and beneficiaries—whomever has a stake in what the board is doing.

 

PORTFOLIO

Constructing and overseeing an investment portfolio is at the heart of endowment management — the nucleus around which everything revolves. The investment portfolio is the core component to effective endowment management. If the strategic document behind the portfolio is the investment policy statement, the most fundamental tenet underpinning a wide range of decisions is asset allocation. Fundamentally, asset allocation is apportioning investment funds among categories of assets. Broadly, those categories are stocks, bonds, cash and real assets.

 

PEOPLE

Fiduciary effectiveness is a matter of structure, processes and people, i.e., the governance structure of the organization, the processes within that structure and the people who inhabit that structure (the decision-makers). The key elements of structure are professionalism, the composition of the board, how engaged the board is and how transparent the organization is to its constituencies and beneficiaries—whomever has a stake in what the board is doing.

 

PERSPECTIVE

Just as endowments are perpetual in their time horizon, trustees should think strategically to position their institutions for the long term while remaining flexible and open to new ideas.  The boards and investment committees of nonprofits have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions not only to their institutions but to society at large.

 

isa-outline

Course Objective

This course will examine the fundamentals for shepherding and growing the financial resources that enable nonprofit institutions to achieve their mission and objectives over the long term – the six principles of investment stewardship—purpose, policy, process, portfolio, people and perspective—also known as the six Ps. 

These six core principles of effective endowment management will be dissected to show how institutions with a range of missions can maintain and grow a healthy endowment, as is essential to their long-term viability. The course will uncover how effective stewardship of the endowment is a discipline that is constantly evolving to support changing institutional needs, environmental factors and responses to developments in investment management.   

Learning Objectives

Participants in this course will come away with an understanding of the six Ps and how they can use them in their own roles to effectively manage their endowment to achieve perpetuity of their institutions.  

They will be able to:

  • Determine how the endowment can support the fulfillment of their institution’s mission.
  • The central role of the investment policy statement and why integrating these policies is essential to the long-term health and goals of the institution.
  • List key considerations that boards and staff use during manager selection and evaluation, portfolio and manager monitoring processes.
  • Distinguish between the key elements of asset allocation and why diversification is fundamental.
  • Have knowledge of what it takes to hold a successful meeting and how this can contribute to the overall success of the institution.
  • Have an understanding of how to best position your institution for the long-term and how different factors from regular IPS reviews to board and staff diversity can contribute to its long-term sustainability.