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Corpus Christi College

Corpus Christi College is, like many others, increasingly reliant upon its endowment to underwrite annual operating costs.

In 2012, circa 42% of annual operating costs were met by endowment revenues. By 2016 that proportion had increased to 46% of a much larger sum, despite constant cost control measures alongside strenuous efforts to exploit irreducible spare capacity and generate additional trading revenues. Looking ahead we judge that this dependency is set to increase as inflationary pressures build, and alternative revenue sources grow slowly in real terms. Against this backdrop, it is essential that our investment activity maintains, and ideally increases, the purchasing power of the endowment. Thankfully, we do enjoy the latitude of a very long time horizon, with perpetuity our declared goal.

In 2012, we began a review of our investments accepting that a world of double digit performance was a rarity rather than a norm, and many advisers’ layered cost structures were therefore unsustainable. We sought a far-sighted charity sector specialist adviser that was judged able to deliver multi asset class global investment management services, whilst also readily appreciating the particular risk and time profile of an institution such as ours. OU Endowment Management were judged best able to intuitively understand and deliver on our needs. Results across the intervening years coupled with a peerless approach to client service, accessible reporting, and the communication of ideas have seen us increase our holdings so that we now have in excess of £70m managed by the team.

We recognise in the team hard won and proven expertise that is second to none, deeply relevant and attuned to our aims. Results have been consistently outstanding and yet the team remains alert to change, making timely strategic adjustments that are communicated with clarity and candour. Having now weathered several very stressful periods of market volatility the team has amassed, and importantly retained, a depth of expertise and maturity that is the envy of many who would seek to match its service. For Corpus, OU Endowment Management undoubtedly forms the dependable bedrock of our investment activity. We value the informed long term and global perspective of the team, and indirectly the skills of its Investment Committee. Critically important in our achieving a coherent performance across our entire portfolio is a refreshingly open and supportive rapport that serves to strengthen our in-house decision making.

Identifying, obtaining access to, and meticulously evaluating the full panoply of global asset classes is a task that demands fixed infrastructure and intellectual capital well beyond the means of even the wealthiest colleges. By adopting the pooled approach that is inherent in the OU Endowment Management charter we are able to use resource wisely, invest coherently and, based upon the soundly reasoned distribution rates, reliably support this institution and its aims.

www.ccc.ox.ac.uk