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U. of Georgia Foundation crosses $1 bln assets, hires first CIO

  • Jason Bull is first CIO of UGA Foundation
  • PE allocation rose to 5 percent in 2017
  • PE is top-performing asset class in the portfolio

University of Georgia Athens Foundation created the role of chief investment officer after the endowment surpassed $1 billion in liquid assets last year.

The foundation named Jason Bull its first CIO, Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations and executive director of UGA Foundation, told Buyouts.

Bull will oversee investments at UGA Foundation, including the private equity portfolio, which accounted for 5 percent of the total asset allocation in 2017, up from 4.4 percent in 2016.

At a more than 6 percent return, PE was the top-performing asset class in 2016, the foundation’s 2016 annual report shows. Numbers for 2017 were unavailable.

The UGA private equity suite includes direct investments, co-investments, secondaries, private ventures, distressed and fund-of-funds, a Form 990 from the foundation shows. The foundation also invests in early-stage startups in healthcare and technology, according to documents.

Bull spent almost 10 years at Emory Investment Management, which manages a diversified portfolio of nearly $7 billion investments for Emory University and Emory Healthcare. He was most recently head of public equities there.

EIM’s PE portfolio is focused on buyouts, growth and distressed opportunities.

Previously, Bull managed investments for wealthy investors at Goldman Sachs. Bull graduated from Emory’s Goizueta Business School in 2006 and started his career at SEI Investments.

Specific goals and strategies will be evaluated and set once Bull is on board, Kerner said.

UGA Foundation’s strategic plan for 2017-2022 has identified five strategies for the investment committee, documents show.

These include evaluating and recommending an endowment management model for the foundation and creating an investment platform that allows other university asset pools to be potentially managed by the foundation’s investment team.

UGA launched its public phase of the Commit to Georgia Campaign to raise $1.2 billion by 2020 to increase scholarship support in November 2017. To date it has raised $827 million, more than two-thirds of the goal.