Community Foundation OCIO RFP Case Study

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Background & Challenges

North Pier was engaged to assist the trustees of a multi-agency $102 million community foundation considering a transition from traditional advisor-assisted, trustee-directed investment management to a discretionary OCIO manager. The large all-volunteer committee with deep investment industry knowledge and expertise saw value in OCIO but had a bad experience when they initially tried to convert their incumbent to the OCIO model. The foundation had significant allocations (>40%) to alternative and illiquid investments and the multi-agency structure required significant administrative, accounting, and reporting support. Having had a previous bad experience, the foundation needed an OCIO manager with a track record that could gain the confidence of an unconvinced investment committee.


  • Committee Education
    • North Pier educated the committee on the state of the industry and the solutions available for OCIO discretionary management.
    • After reviewing the challenges and disappointments of the past attempt to transition to OCIO, North Pier introduced suggestions for a successful implementation.
  • Governance
    • North pier reviewed governance documents including the Committee Charter, Investment Policy Statement, and minutes of committee meetings.
    • Amendments and refinements to the documents and fiduciary process were recommended.
    • North Pier also performed a historical review and deep analysis of investment track records.
  • OCIO Search
    • North Pier initially reviewed records and performed interviews of twenty-five (25) potential candidates from which nine (9) were deemed to have the capabilities and experience to provide OCIO discretionary manager services to this foundation.
    • We developed and administered an RFP and performed detailed due diligence on nine (9) candidates, including reviewing performance track records and performing in-depth investment analysis.
  • Finalist Selection and Interviews
    • North Pier assisted the committee in selecting three (3) finalists who were invited to participate in in-person interviews at the client’s headquarters.
    • North Pier developed a structure for the presentations, prepared the finalists, and facilitated the interviews.


The project resulted in lower fees, expanded services, and enhanced support for multi-agency reporting.

The Trustees selected an OCIO whose process, style, track record and investment approach best matched desired characteristics. This organization had demonstrable experience with the administration and accounting for multi-agency foundations.

On behalf of the client, North Pier negotiated favorable fees and a new service agreement. Overall, the foundation expects a significant reduction in time for the committee and staff as well as a reduction in total program fees of close to 20bps a year.

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