James Clarke Emerges At New Consulting Firm

James G. Clarke, previously director of private investments at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has taken a post as senior portfolio manager at a start-up consulting firm, Fiduciary Research & Consulting.

Clarke, 34, has responsibility for overseeing the private equity and real estate portfolio of the firm’s first and so far only client—a defined-benefit, corporate pension plan whose name the firm is trying, at least initially, to keep under wraps.

Fiduciary Research & Consulting lists six partners on its Web site, including President and Chief Investment Officer John Boich. From 2001 through late last year Boich was a founding partner and senior portfolio manager at Security Global Investors, a money management firm with more than $17 billion under management, according to its Web site. Boich had responsibility for global long-only and long-short strategies.

Based in San Francisco, the firm provides help with asset allocation, risk management and manager selection in the areas of equity, fixed income, absolute-return strategies, private equity and real estate. It is unclear from its Web site whether the firm aspires to expand beyond its first client.

Clarke capped a nearly seven-and-a-half year career at Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation this August. A bit of a jack-of-all-trades when he started, Clarke concentrated on the private equity and real assets portfolio after his first two years at the foundation. The $2 billion foundation has about $700 million committed to private equity and real assets, including real estate and energy, part of an effort to hit a 15 percent target allocation to buyouts and venture capital, and 8 percent to real assets.

During his time working on private equity and real assets, Clarke oversaw a shift from a venture capital-heavy private equity portfolio to one that balanced close to 50-50, buyouts to venture capital, when he left. The foundation has favored small and mid-market buyout funds of less than $1 billion in size, and more than half of its managers invest largely outside of the United States. It has about a dozen relationships with buyout firms that it terms “core”; these are general partners that the foundation trusts to the point of planning to back again and again. Managers backed by the foundation include Arcis Group, Deutsche Beteiligungs AG, Linden LLC, Riverside Partners and Wingate Partners.

In the last two years, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has also begun to invest directly in distressed real estate assets—a program also overseen by Clarke.