Ana Marshall, vice president and chief investment officer of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, Calif., said her small investment team is the key to the organization’s success.
Promoting her new book The Climb to Investment Excellence: A Practitioner's Guide to Building Exceptional Portfolios and Teams, Marshall said building an investment team based on the individuals’ skills is not enough.
“You need a team that actually works at the same pace,” said Marshall. “I run a very concentrated portfolio, and I run a very small team; and part of the reason is every single member of the team does their own work.”
Including Marshall, six investment professionals manage the foundation’s $13 billion endowment.
“The reality is I’m in every meeting, and we’re digging," she said. "It’s a very active portfolio, and what you really want is people who are adaptable and skilled, that goes without saying, but have different skills among themselves."
“We run hard."
Marshall also warned that foundations and endowments should not depend solely on private markets to gain returns. She said the foundation is about half public markets so it can provide the Hewlett Foundation the flexibility to make changes in the distribution rate of the endowment.
As of June 30, the actual allocation of the endowment was 33% private equity, 27% low- and intermediate-risk assets, 25% public equities, 10% hard assets and 5% cash.