Diversity and Inclusion

Diverse Partners for a Diverse Portfolio

Diverse Partners for a Diverse PortfolioMinority-owned Holland Capital Management and EARNEST Partners are managing separate portions of the University's endowment.

The University of Chicago hires two minority-owned money management firms

Money management partnerships are often longstanding. That can limit opportunities for the industry’s minority- and women-owned firms, which tend to be younger than their peers, to work with large, enduring institutions.

The University of Chicago is breaking this trend, having recently partnered with two minority-owned firms—Holland Capital Management and EARNEST Partners—to manage the investments of separate portions of its endowment.

For over twenty years, Holland Capital has offered U.S. equity portfolio management to institutional investors. The company specializes in large- and mid-capitalization companies with earnings that are growing faster than the general market.

According to CEO Monica L. Walker (pictured above), the strength of Holland Capital’s investment philosophy and process lies in the firm’s commitment to bottom-up fundamental research, a team approach, and a long-term investment horizon.

Walker, who is also her firm’s Chief Investment Officer, highlights Holland’s relationship with the University as the key to their partnership’s success. “From the inception of our discussions with the University of Chicago, their focus was in getting to know our people and our firm, and understanding our investment philosophy and process,” she said, “We are grateful and thrilled about our new partnership with the University. It is a tremendous opportunity for our firm.”

Mark Schmid, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for the University, is equally excited. “Holland has a strong investment process, track record, and people,” he said. “We are pleased to be partnering with this fine, established, Chicago-based firm and look forward to a strong relationship.”

Throughout its history, EARNEST Partners has seen equal success in its management of institutional investments. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, EARNEST advises on over $15 billion in assets. Its portfolio spans the globe and includes corporations, government pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, jointly trusted plans, endowments, and foundations.

“EARNEST Partners strives to exceed our clients’ expectations in every interaction. The University of Chicago is similarly committed to excellence. We look forward to continuing to advise and learn from each other in the future,” said Mondrell Moore, who is involved with product management at EARNEST and has over ten years of experience in the financial services industry.

Schmid added, “EARNEST Partners has a strong track record in both equities and fixed income management, and we are excited to have forged an initial relationship with them.”

The responsibilities and strengths of both firms were recently highlighted at the University’s annual Business Diversity Symposium. The two-day event, held each October, brings together leaders from the University and its Medical Center to engage with exceptional minority- and women-owned professional service firms. In its three years, the event has led to numerous partnerships, including those with Holland and EARNEST.

“The University is better able to accomplish our institutional goals when we look at a broader spectrum of business partners,” said Nadia Quarles, UChicago’s Assistant Vice President for Business Diversity. “Our new partnerships with these firms is great in that both have excellent performance records and sound investment strategies, and also because they are African American-owned money management firms, which is rare to see at institutions like ours.”

Quarles says these partnerships are part of a broader University effort to develop and maintain a diverse group of talented business partners. “We have a history of diversity at every level of this institution,” she said. “Bringing diverse perspectives to the table makes us a better educational institution.”

By Seth Maxon