UVA investments fare well despite "unpredictable market"


At times, the past two years have been debilitating for UVA’s endowment. Managed by the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIM CO) and constituting a large chunk of the University’s overall investment pool, the endowment dropped $600 million during the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2008. However, the endowment seems headed back to its pre-financial crash glory days, currently valued at nearly $3 billion in a $4.7 billion investment pool.

Recently appointed UVIMCO CEO Lawrence Kochard could start his job on a swell of good news. Quarterly reports show improved performances by UVA’s long-term investment pool and endowment.

The endowment began the first fiscal quarter of 2008 at roughly $4.6 billion. By mid-October of the same year, in the midst of the national economic meltdown, it plummeted to $2.9 billion. By mid-2009, however, UVA’s overall pool had picked up positive returns on investments and once more reached the $4 billion mark.

Since then, UVIMCO had to deal with more than market forces to ensure a steady endowment performance. In March, UVIM CO CEO Christopher Brightman unexpectedly resigned, citing “personal reasons” for his departure amidst an allegation of adultery with his executive assistant. 

In the seven months since Brightman’s resignation, the team at UVIMCO reported gains in its investment pools. According to a June 30 investment report, UVA’s overall investment pool was valued at $4.45 billion, and the endowment at $2.78 billion. By September 30, those number jumped to $4.74 billion and $2.95 billion—signs of positive returns. 

UVIMCO remains wary of a volatile market; according to the most recent fiscal quarter report, “an environment characterized by large, unpredictable market moves remains the current norm.” However, from July 1, 2005, through September 30 of this year, the net return for UVA’s long-term investment pool totals $1.36 billion. UVIMCO’s long-term pool appreciated roughly 6.5 percent during the most recent fiscal quarter.

A new face likely celebrated the steady rise of UVA’s investment pool: Lawrence Kochard was named CEO of UVIMCO in October, and will manage the endowment during a time of diminished state support for public universities. Currently the chief investment officer at Georgetown and former managing director for equity and hedge fund investments for the Virginia Retirement System, Kochard will join UVA in January, but not for the first time. He holds Master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from UVA, and taught at the University’s McIntire School of Commerce from 1997 to 2000.