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Hirtle Callaghan signals confidence in PE with Vaccaro hiring

Hirtle, Callaghan & Co recently hired Stephen Vaccaro as director of private equity as part of its “long-term commitment” to the asset class, the firm told Buyouts.

Vaccaro was previously with the University of Pennsylvania’s endowment, where he was director of the office of investments. The University’s endowment was worth $13.8 million at the end of fiscal year 2018. Prior to Penn, Vaccaro worked for Princeton University’s endowment, which was valued at $27.4 billion at the end of fiscal 2018.

Vaccaro was unavailable for comment, but Deputy Chief Investment Officer Dan McCollum said via email that Vaccaro’s duties will include being a leader on the firm’s Investment Policy Committee and Investment Strategy Committee. The firm has seven people focused on private equity efforts, while the 10-person policy committee also provides input and approval.

“Private equity, while one component of the total programs that we run, is a critical one and we want to stay at the top of our game in all that we do,” McCollum said. He added that the firm is “looking to build on the historical success of our private equity program by adding additional talent to our team.”

McCollum said he felt private equity had added value for Hirtle Callaghan’s clients “across market cycles,” and saw plenty of opportunities on the horizon.

“Comparing public and private markets, the supply of private equity deals is robust, while the landscape of public market opportunities has continued to shrink,” he said.

McCollum pointed to the decline in the number of public companies since the 1990s.

“Most of the stocks that have disappeared are small or microcap businesses, which are right in the sweet spot for private equity investment,” he said. “We see this trend persisting as more companies are choosing to stay private longer to avoid the additional investor scrutiny and regulation that comes with being public.”

Hirtle Callaghan, founded in 1988, considers itself an “outsourced chief investment officer firm.” It sells no products, but instead works with clients to create custom investment programs. According to filings, its clients include families, endowments, foundations, healthcare institutions and pension funds.

McCollum said the firm serves “over 100 mission-driven organizations as well as a wide variety of families.” According to Hirtle Callaghan’s form ADV, its minimum account is $10 million. The firm had about $20.6 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2018.

Action Item: See Hirtle Callaghan’s form ADV: