New Emory CIO takes charge of fast-growing $1 bln-plus private portfolio

  • Srinivas Pulavarti joins from UCLA Investment
  • Private-market portfolio grew 16.6% from 2016 to 2017
  • Pulavarti’s ex-colleagues part of Emory team

Srinivas “Srini” Pulavarti on July 1 is slated to become CIO of the company that manages a $7 billion investment portfolio, including a $1 billion-plus private-markets program, for Emory University and Emory Healthcare.

Emory Investment Co’s private-market portfolio grew 16.6 percent to $1.26 billion for the year ended Aug. 31, 2017, the university’s 2017 annual report shows.

The portfolio includes buyout, venture-capital, growth-equity, mezzanine, distressed debt and reinsurance held in commingled vehicles in which Emory is a limited partner or shareholder, the endowment’s Form 990 shows.

Unfunded commitments in private-market investments stood at $1.2 million in 2017, compared with $802,662 in 2016, the report shows. That suggests Emory Investment has not been especially active committing to new funds of late.

Pulavarti is currently president and chief investment officer of UCLA Investment Co, which manages $2.3 billion for UCLA Foundation and its affiliate organizations.

Before joining UCLA, Pulavarti from 2005 to 2012 served as president and CIO of Spider Management Co, an asset-management affiliate of the University of Richmond.

At Emory, Pulavarti will be working with ex-Spider Management colleagues. These include Muthu Muthiah, who manages the private equity strategy, analysis and manager selection; and Christie D’Amour, chief operating officer.

Christopher Augostini, Emory’s executive vice president for business and administration, is serving as interim CIO since Mary Cahill retired in August 2017.

Gene Block, the UCLA chancellor, will work with UCLA Investment and UCLA Foundation leadership to establish a process and search committee to recruit Pulavarti’s successor, the foundation said in an email to Buyouts.

UCLA’s PE allocation was 10.7 percent in 2015, the highest among California colleges. It returned 15.01 percent over the three years ended June 30, 2015, and 9.15 percent over the 10-year period.

Emory recently lost its public-equities head, Jason Bull, to the University of Georgia endowment.  Bull is the first CIO of the endowment, which crossed the $1 billion mark in liquid assets last year.