Celebrating 20 Years of the Investment Office!

On October 18, the Investment Office celebrated its 20-year anniversary.

The University of Michigan’s Office of Investments was established in 1999 to oversee the university’s financial assets with an endowment of $2.5 billion. Today, the endowment has grown to $12.4 billion, has achieved an annualized return of 9.2% and has distributed $4.7 billion over the past twenty years to support the mission of the university!

Twenty years ago the office was staffed with just six employees led by the then newly appointed Chief Investment Officer Erik Lundberg. The small team was located at Wolverine Tower in a temporary space with only one conference room. Today, the office has twenty-two employees — three of whom (including Erik) have been a part of the original team since its inception in 1999 — and is located in an office on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

The primary objective of the Investment Office is to optimize the endowment performance and the University’s other investment programs, such as its working capital pool and gift programs. This includes developing investment policies, strategic asset allocation, policy and performance benchmarks, and risk management practices. This ensures that the real purchasing power of the fund’s principal is preserved and maintained, enabling the University to continue to provide strong academic programs and innovative technology.

This diversified, multi-asset class portfolio supports the university’s student scholarships, academic and research programs, professorships, and libraries- to name just a few of the many endowed fund initiatives.

The university’s endowment ranked 17th among institutions of higher learning based on asset size when the office was established in 1999. It is now ranked 9th and is 2nd among public universities based on the National Association of College and University Business Officers’ 2018 National Endowment Study.

Many groups that help support the Investment Office celebrated with the office for their 20-year anniversary. Check out the gallery above for a few photos of the remarkable occasion.