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White Papers

Outsourced Investment Management: An Overview for Institutional Decision-makers

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Aug 19, 2017

Topic: Outsourced Investing

Once seen primarily as a solution for small institutions with limited resources, outsourcing of the investment management function is now widespread, with a broad range of long-term investors turning to the outsourced chief investment officer model. Properly implemented, outsourcing can help institutions with both large and small asset pools to address portfolio complexity and risk management challenges, benefit from more timely decision-making and contend with an increasingly rigorous regulatory environment, while enabling trustees to focus on improving institutional governance.


Assessing the State of Healthcare

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Jan 10, 2017

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

Healthcare organizations are challenged to maintain positive operating margins in the face of declining insurance reimbursements and governmental payers.


The Investment Policy Statement

Posted by Commonfund Institute, John Griswold on Dec 9, 2016

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

Successful investing for long-term funds requires a strategic plan. This is true despite – indeed, because of – the fact that the future is unknowable. The plan must be specific, embodying in concrete terms the best thinking of the board of trustees about the investment pool, its goals and 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.


Striking the Balance: A Fiduciary Approach to Risk and Investment Policy

Posted by Commonfund Institute on May 31, 2016

Topic: Asset Allocation | Governance and Policy | Investment Strategy | Risk Management

In formulating an investment policy, fiduciaries frequently treat risk as an output of portfolio construction and asset allocation processes, giving priority to return objectives. Fiduciaries would do better to acknowledge risk as a primary input which guides and constrains those charged with institutional governance and investment policy formulation. Download this paper to help determine practical methods to assign risk when formulating an investment policy for your institution.


Sample IPS Rider on Responsible Investing

Posted by Commonfund on Feb 19, 2016

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Responsible Investing

Download the sample investment policy statement rider on responsible investing strategies.


Fiduciary Duty & Environmental Responsibility: Crafting A Low Carbon Response

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Jan 20, 2016

Topic: Responsible Investing

Developments in world financial markets seem to occur more quickly every year, requiring ever-higher levels of expertise on the part of investment committees. Climate change is a more slowly-evolving issue that will require a more strategic approach from trustees and investment committees.


The Curious Case of Risk Exposures in Diversified, Multi-Asset Class Portfolios – A Deep Dive

Posted by Commonfund on Dec 30, 2015

Topic: Asset Allocation | Equities

Previous research at Commonfund has demonstrated that a traditional 70/30 stock/bond portfolio has north of 99 percent of its risk allocated to equities. Thus portfolio risk in the traditional portfolio is not broadly diversified across equities and fixed income, but rather, highly concentrated in one exposure: equities. Does a more diversified, multi-asset class portfolio do a better job of balancing risk?


Understanding the Cost of Investment Management

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Oct 16, 2015

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

Few aspects of financial management are more important for fiduciaries than an understanding of the cost if investment management of the perpetual funds for which they have responsibility. Our aim is to guide fiduciaries as they strive to fulfill their duties under common and statutory law.


Legislating the Normative Environment: Nonprofit Governance, Sarbanes-Oxley and UPMIFA

Posted by Commonfund Institute on May 19, 2015

Topic: Governance and Policy

Regulation of nonprofit investment and governance practices has migrated from traditional common-law principles to codified statutory law, affecting areas of nonprofit governance not addressed in the original legislation. Trustees will do well to heed this development. This paper seeks to draw attention to recent shifts in the law and its implications, and to trace a transformation in thinking that has gained momentum in recent years.


Chasing Winners: The Appeal and the Risk

Posted by John Delano, Kristofer Kwait on Aug 6, 2014

Topic: Asset Allocation | Hedge Funds | Investment Strategy

For investors selecting managers to hire, the draw of managers that have produced outsized recent winners can be powerful. While such a strategy can work in the long-term, this strategy is implicitly based on the manager’s ability to track market movements across investment environments.