University Foundation Evaluation Case Study

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North Pier Search Consulting led the evaluation of a $150 million University Foundation investment program.


North Pier was engaged to assess and document the efficacy of a University Foundation’s $150M investment program and current OCIO. The university had not gone to market in a number of years and were thus fulfilling their fiduciary duty to evaluate the program with the help of an objective third-party.

Findings & Process

The evaluation included a comparison report of 60 similarly structured organizations, an assessment of benchmarks, and a bottom-up manager and OCIO fee review.

The evaluation had three main areas of focus:

  • Historical Performance Analysis
  • Fees
  • Governance

The historical performance analysis found that overall, the university’s performance relative to its peers was slightly underperforming on a risk adjusted basis, and that the benchmarks their OCIO were comparing themselves against were not satisfactory. North Pier made recommendations for the development of a long-term benchmark.

North Pier found that overall, fees were fair but could be more transparent and recommended a negotiation on a more transparent fee schedule for public markets.

North Pier found that governance was satisfactory with a few minor adjustments.


  • North Pier negotiated a new fee structure with the current OCIO, resulting in more transparency and a 15% reduction in fees.
  • North Pier negotiated better benchmarking tied into the university’s long-term goals.
  • North Pier recommended that the university did not need to run an RFP at this time since services were found to be satisfactory post-negotiation. A consideration to keep monitoring and run another full analysis in three years unless service levels change was suggested.


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