OCIO Company Guide 2021 AUM 3-31-21

by charles | Comments are closed



Our latest Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) report below features one-hundred-four firms managing industry assets of $3.27 trillion as of March 31, 2021, an increase of 15% over the prior six months.

By comparison, last year we reported 15.8% growth for the entire twelve-months ending September 30, 2020.

All things equity – public markets, private equity, venture capital — produced a year for the ages and our herd of OCIO providers kept pace with the bulls.  Overall OCIO growth matched Alpha’s broad market index and slightly trailed Alpha’s moderate endowment and foundation diversified style index.


Alpha Nasdaq OCIO Indexes


One-year Performance

ending 3-31-21

Broad Market


Endowment & Foundations


Aggressive Asset Allocation


Moderate Asset Allocation


Conservative Asset Allocation




S&P 500


Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate



40% Bloomberg Barclays US Agg



The OCIO Story

Our friend Jon Hirtle, of Hirtle, Callaghan & Co, officially launched the OCIO service model in 1988 (with fellow Goldman Sachs vet Don Callaghan) and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.

(See Jon Hirtle’s iconoclastic guest commentary below –– and his full article OCIO My Foot! here.  We welcome all points of view)

The core idea was to offer a diversified and full-discretion money management function to family offices and institutions who could no longer effectively or affordably manage the money in-house.

OCIO firms offer the proven performance of the best endowment and foundation investment managers at a reasonable price.  And they can replicate the entire investment office with the process and structure to cope with the complexity of modern portfolios and mounting operational and regulatory burdens.

We’ve been charting the growth of the OCIO industry for well over a decade in our annual OCIO reports and the heirs of Hirtle, big and small, seem mostly to have flourished.

Today the industry is bifurcated, highly diverse, intensely competitive, and the nine largest providers on our OCIO list – Aon, Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, Mercer, Northern Trust, Russell, SEI, SSgA, and Willis Towers Watson – with their size and resources dominate the largest segment, corporate pensions.

These nine firms control nearly two trillion in OCIO assets or 60% of the outsourced segment, but from what we hear and see, the market for discretionary asset management services among foundations and family offices shows no sign of slowing.

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Women pursuinging positions as chief investment officers had better buckle up.  It’s a long hard road.

Preqin’s Impact Report 2020, Women in Alternative Assets applauds endowments and foundations for employing women.  They claim that 37.4% of senior, 48.6% mid-level, and 48.4% of junior positions at foundations, and 28.2% of senior, 42.2% mid-level, and 41.6% junior positions at endowments are held by women.

That sounds fine on the surface, but we all know the old saying about lies and statistics.  Where are the women chief investment officers?

We have worked with institutional investors for years recruiting CIOs. We even wrote about The mysterious shortfall in women chief investment officers.  For us, there are only two questions: who manages the money and how well do they do it?

Human Resources, legal, administration, as important as they may be, are staff functions and costs centers, but chief investment officers are executives with line responsibility.  They make money  – the only revenue generators for foundations and a major source of support for endowments, hospitals, charities, and pensions.

So, how are the women doing?

From the looks of things, impressively well.  Our third chart below (and 2020 endowment performance report) suggests that gender has no bearing on investment performance.

Unfortunately, this news does not seem to have reached the boardrooms.

In our last newsletter – Searching for the Next Swensen: Part II – we highlighted the prodigious talent machine at the Yale investment office.

We even compiled two charts, included below, of YIO and Yale university alumni who moved on to CIO roles, and included their backgrounds and ages when they were hired as CIOs.

Notice something odd?

The men were much younger than the women when they were hired for CIO roles – ten years on average.

In other words, board members seemed more inclined to take a chance on younger men than younger women.

Other than Casey Whalen (30yrs) at Truvvo, Kimberly Sargent (39yrs) at the Packard Foundation, and Letitia Johnson (39) at Amherst, all the women were in their forties before boards took notice.

Yet all the men except for Rob Wallace (49yrs) at Stanford were in their thirties.

Granted this is a small sample, but these recruits came from Yale, every headhunter’s ground zero.  They are all very good at the YIO.

I mentioned to Janet Lorin at Bloomberg News that the next Yale CIO will mostly likely have a Yale background, be on the younger side and, of course, be wicked smart, have animal ambition, and a maniacal focus.  Hey, we know those women (and men).

Will the Yale University trustees show a willingness to stretch and take a chance on gender as they once did on youth?  David Swensen was thirty-one years old when William Brainard ’62 PhD and provost at the time hired Swensen to manage the endowment.

Perceptions don’t change overnight, but the investment office has done an excellent job of recruiting and training superior female chief investment officers.  Maybe now’s the time to bring one home.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, let’s hear it from the source.

Our goal is a level of diversity in investment management firms that reflects the diversity in the world in which we live.  Genuine diversity remains elusive, giving investors like Yale and your firm an opportunity to drive change.  Success will be measured by hiring, training, mentoring, and retaining women and minorities for positions on the investment teams at Yale and in your firm.

David Swensen, October 2, 2020, Yale Investments Office

We have been in the search business for well over thirty years and here’s our take: there are plenty of talented women waiting for a CIO opportunity and our research shows they perform among the best.  So go ahead, reach out, we’ll all be better for it.

— Charles Skorina

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