College appoints Alice Ruth '83 as chief investment officer

by Julian Nathan | 4/5/17 2:05am

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Alice Ruth '83 served as chief investment officer of Willett Advisors for eight years.

Source: Courtesy of Alice Ruth

Alice Ruth ’83, former chief investment officer of Willett Advisors, was appointed as the College’s chief investment officer on March 13. She succeeds Pamela Peedin ’89 Tu’98, who served as chief investment officer for over six years, and will begin work in April.

Ruth, who began her career at Morgan Stanley, previously worked in sell-side equity research at investment bank Montgomery Securities for 12 years and served as chief investment officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Most recently she spent eight years as chief investment officer of Willett Advisors, which manages former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s assets. Ruth has also served on the College’s investment committee since 2011.

In an email statement, Ruth wrote that she decided to take on the position to apply her experiences in the financial services industry to supporting the College. Ruth wrote that she expects that her experience in constructing portfolios for long-term performance will serve her well in her new capacity. Chairperson of the College’s investment committee and trustee Richard Kimball ’78 said that Ruth’s connections in the finance industry will be beneficial for the College.

“Certainly [Ruth’s] background has given her exposure to some of the best money managers in the world … she has such a great reputation that [she will help us to] get access to those,” he said.

Ruth’s appointment comes only months after the College’s endowment sustained a 1.9 percent loss in the last reported fiscal year ending in June 2016, although the number did outperform the median loss of 2.9 percent for college and universities, as reported by the consulting firm Cambridge Associates. The loss was attributed to concerns over global economic growth alongside low interest rates, which led to volatility in equity markets. The endowment was valued as $4.5 billion, down from $4.7 billion in the previous year.

Kimball cautioned against evaluating the performance of the endowment over a one year period. He added that when evaluated over three, five or ten year periods, the endowment has produced “outstanding” returns of 8.7, 8.8 and 7.2 percent, respectively. Kimball said that he expects this trend to continue under Ruth’s leadership.

“I wouldn’t expect any radical changes,” he said.

Since the endowment contributes toward one-quarter of the College’s budget, Kimball said that growing the endowment was an important priority.

Kimball was the head of the search committee that identified Ruth as a possible candidate for the position. Kimball said that Ruth was not originally considered for this position because she did not apply for it, but he personally asked Ruth to take the position repeatedly because of her “excellent reputation.” He said that eventually, Ruth called him to learn more about the position.

Kimball was excited to hear the new ideas that Ruth could introduce as chief investment officer, although he was not sure as to the specifics.

“As a committee we are always [open] to different ideas,” he said.

Kimball said that College President Phil Hanlon and the rest of the investment committee were also excited to have Ruth on board. In an email statement, investment committee member and chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Helman ’80 agreed, writing, “[Ruth] is a home run and [we] could not be more excited to have her at Dartmouth.”

Correction appended (Apr. 5, 2017):

The original version of this article stated that Ruth succeeds Pamela Reedin, when she actually succeeded Pamela Peedin. The article has been changed to reflect this.