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Trustees vote out investment firm

Trustees shift larger portion of endowment into firm focused on energy investments.

Temple will fire RS Investments from managing part of its endowment and will shift those responsibilities to Van Eck Associates Corporation, the investments committee of the Board of Trustees announced at a meeting this afternoon.

A group of investors at RS recently left to form a new firm, so the committee decided to break ties with the remnants of RS.

“We no longer felt comfortable that [RS] had the right people, and we weren’t confident that we would get the appropriate level of attention that we needed,” committee chairman Christopher W. McNichol said.

Van Eck, a New York-based firm, will continue to perform its previous role as investment manager for part of the Post-Retirement Plan.

Van Eck and RS Investments are both categorized in the committee’s Investment Policy as “Non-real estate Real Assets,” which means that the investments are typically in food, manufactured goods, or energy. More than 73 percent of Van Eck’s investments are in energy, McNichol said.

“[Van Eck] is a firm we’re familiar with and done our due diligence on,” Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Ken Kaiser said after the meeting. “They’re performing quite well.”

Temple’s endowment is about $278 million as of 2012 and collects about 4.5 percent interest, Kaiser said. McNichol said that the interest is used to “pay the bills.”

Temple, like many other universities, doles out parcels of the endowment to investment managers like Van Eck to potentially gain more money to spend on things like financial aid.

After the motion to cut ties with RS Investments was passed without objection, the committee re-approved Miller Investment Management L.P. to run its own specially designated pools of money within the retirement and pension pools.

Miller will be have no more than 10 percent of each of the pools to invest, Kaiser said. It will continue to operate with less adherence to the investment policy than other investors, since it can “take advantage of opportunities” and can “manage nimbly in the markets,” Kaiser added.

The amount of money in the pools has gone up “considerably” since Miller was given that opportunity, Kaiser said.

Joe Brandt can be reached at joseph.brandt@temple.edu or on Twitter @JBrandt7.

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