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Harvard endowment in hiring mode

The Harvard Management Company (HMC), which manages the assets of the Harvard Endowment, is hiring again after cutting up to a quarter of jobs earlier this year, with 18 investment, accounting and technology support jobs currently on offer, and chief executive, Jane Mendillo, citing a plan to add key investment professionals in coming months.

After a reported 25 per cent of staff cut in the first half of this year, the HMC is advertising, among other things, jobs in fund administration for the external portfolio; a lead developer for external management to design, develop, acquire test, implement and support technology solutions for the external management department; and a fixed income trading analytics quant developer. A number of investment operations jobs are also being advertised including data management, electronic trade communication and straight through processing.

In an interview with the Harvard University Gazette in May, HMC chief executive, Jane Mendillo, said staff changes at the beginning of the year were part of a “rebalancing plan” – she initiated at the beginning of her tenure in July last year.

“The staffing plan currently reflects a strategic balance between investment strategy and support functions that we think is very appropriate to the portfolio and the management activities we anticipate going forward, she said. “We are planning to add a few key investment and support professionals to the team over the coming months, and we’re excited about the talent that we are attracting. As a result of these changes, I believe that the company and the team are exceptionally well positioned to provide excellent stewardship of the current portfolio and for the new and exciting investment environment we see going forward.”

The endowment was valued at $36.9 billion at the end of last June, but it is expected its loss this financial year will be at least 30 per cent.

The endowment’s asset mix for the 2009 fiscal year has been: 11 per cent in domestic equity; 11 per cent in foreign equity; 11 per cent in emerging market equity; 13 per cent in private equity; 18 per cent in absolute return; 2 per cent in high yield; 8 per cent in liquid commodities; 9 per cent in timber/agricultural land; 9 per cent in real estate; 4 per cent in domestic bonds; 2 per cent in foreign bonds; 5 per cent in inflation-indexed bonds; and -3 per cent in cash.

While not wanting to “predict over the next year or two where any market might be, especially after the financial upheaval of the past year”, Mendillo said she expected to see some interesting opportunities in real assets – real estate and natural resources – where the firm was uniquely positioned given its experienced and pioneering teams.

Meanwhile a board member of the HMC, the University’s first executive vice president, overseeing financial, administrative and human resources functions, Edward C. Forst, is stepping down on August 1 after less than a year in the position.

Formerly the head of investment management at Goldman Sachs, he plans to return to New York and his career in financial services.

He will remain an active adviser to the University on financial and capital planning matters, and serve on the University’s Debt-Asset Management Committee.


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