Carleton College seeks private-markets exec as it expands investment team

  • Allocation to PE was 15.5 pct in 2017
  • Core managers, niche strategies get higher commitments
  • New roles include private-markets professional

Carleton College’s endowment is building its investment team after hiring Kelsey Deshler as chief investment officer earlier this year.

Expanding the team is one of her top priorities, Deshler said. The new roles include a private-markets professional and a generalist for the team; two interns from Carleton will also be working with the investment office this year.

Deshler stepped into the CIO role after Jason Matz left the Northfield, Minnesota, college to join GHR Foundation in early 2017. Andy Christensen, director of private markets at the endowment, followed Matz to GHR Foundation in March 2017.

Deshler was most recently global head of manager research at BlackRock in New York.

Previously, she was a portfolio manager and research head at Credit Suisse Asset Management; and an investment analyst for absolute-returns strategies at the $70 billion General Motors Asset Management, one of the largest institutional investors.

Carleton’s private-markets portfolio includes PE, real estate and natural resources, a spokesperson said. The $828 million Carleton endowment had a private equity allocation of 15.5 percent in 2017. PE actual allocation was 17.5 percent.

The endowment invests mainly through direct commitments to PE firms, Deshler said. Core managers and niche strategies get higher commitments, she said.

The endowment does not have a separate program for emerging or minority managers and assesses each deal on its merits, she said.

The endowment has previously invested in private equity funds of Warburg PincusEndeavour CapitalNorthgate CapitalSentinel Capital Partners and Commonfund Capital.

Carleton gained 14.4 percent in 2017 over the previous period. Its annualized return was 5.2 percent for 10 years and 8.1 percent for five years in 2017, the college says.

The endowment supplies about 22 percent of the college budget.

Carleton was ranked No. 8 in National Liberal Arts Colleges in 2018 by U.S. News.