Arial view of Fort Garry campus contruction on Admin building

Purpose of the endowment

September 2022

The University Investment Trust (endowment fund) is a permanent fund established to support specific purposes at the University of Manitoba. Each year, a portion of the investment return is used to support current year programs and therefore contributes to the quality of teaching, student accessibility, research, athletics, and public service at the university.

Each individual endowed account is pooled for investment purposes and tracked using unit accounting, similar to a mutual fund. The unitized pool is referred to as the University Investment Trust (“UIT”), and the use of a pooled fund concept ensures new gifts purchase units and receives a pro-rata share of earnings while existing account holders maintain their equitable ownership in the pool. The pooled fund concept also allows all endowment account holders to take advantage of the diversification benefits available to large institutional investors like the University of Manitoba.

The endowment is managed by the Trust Investment Committee (the Committee), which is an advisory committee to the Board of Governors, and as such makes recommendations on all matters related to the investment and distribution of endowment assets. Members of the Committee are appointed under the authority of the Board, and are accountable to the Board through the Finance, Administration and Human Resources Committee. The Committee establishes guidelines for investing assets and is responsible for hiring and reviewing investment managers. This includes establishing the investment mandates for each asset class and the review of performance for each mandate, as well as the overall portfolio, to ensure the goals and objectives of the endowment are being achieved.

The endowment fund is comprised primarily of gifts from donors to provide long-term funding for designated purposes. Donors generally specify a particular purpose for their gifts, creating endowments that fund faculty and school support (30 per cent), student awards (40 per cent), chairs and professorships (15 per cent), research (five per cent), library support (three per cent) and various other areas (seven per cent). The annual distributions from the endowment fund provide for this support, with $35.5 million being allocated for the current year, and a total of $154 million allocated over the past five years.

Governance and management of funds

The University of Manitoba
Management of trust and endowment funds
September 2022

Governance

A Trust Investment Committee was established many years ago and has general authority over the investment of the assets of the Trust and Endowment Fund. This includes the investments of the University Investment Trust (the “UIT”) and the Specific Trusts.  Members of the Trust Investment Committee are appointed under the authority of the Board of Governors. The Board’s power includes the power to ensure the investment of University money based on prudent person principles. The Finance, Administration and Human Resources Committee is a Board Committee established under the Board of Governors, and this Committee makes recommendations to the Board on the general investment policy and the management of University investments.

The Trust Investment Committee is accountable to the Board of Governors through the Finance, Administration, and Human Resources Committee. The Chair of the Trust Investment Committee is Vice President (Administration), who also is a non-voting member of the Finance, Administration and Human Resources Committee.

The current membership of the Trust Investment Committee is as follows: 

University Staff and Members of the Board of Governors

  • Naomi Andrew, Vice-President Administration, Chair
  • Michael Benarroch, President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Carla Buchanan, Manager, Financial Services
  • Robin Campbell, Manager, Treasury
  • Mike Emslie, CFO and Comptroller
  • Kathryn Lee, Board of Governors
  • Stephanie Levene, Associate VP, Alumni and Donor Relations
  • Lance McKinley, Director, Treasury
  • Mark Torchia, Vice-Provost

Community Members

  • Zoe Richardson, investment professional
  • John Smith, retired, President, GLC Asset Management
  • Garry Steski, retired, ADM, Treasury Division, Province of Manitoba

Investment policy statement

The Investment Policy Statement (IPS) (PDF) is the governing document of the Committee, and all content and changes to the IPS are done through approval by the Board of Governors. The current IPS was approved by the Board on November 30, 2021. The IPS covers: roles and responsibilities; investment objective; time horizon; risk tolerance; asset allocation; rebalancing guidelines; spending policy; selection and retention for investment managers; strategic investment guidelines and constraints; and conflict of interest.

The endowment fund is a permanent fund established to support specific purposes at the University of Manitoba. Each year, a portion of the investment return is used to support current year programs and therefore contributes to the quality of teaching, student accessibility, research, athletics, and public service at the university. The fund is currently comprised of over 2,600 individual accounts, each with a specific purpose.

Each individual endowed account is pooled for investment purposes and tracked with unit accounting, similar to a mutual fund. The unitized pool is referred to as the University Investment Trust (UIT), and the use of a pooled fund concept ensures new gifts purchase units and receive a pro-rata share of earnings while existing account holders maintain their equitable ownership in the pool. The pooled fund concept also allows all endowment account holders to take advantage of the diversification benefits available to large institutional investors like the University of Manitoba.

The basic investment objective of the UIT is to provide a total investment return (income plus capital appreciation) necessary to meet annual spending requirements and to preserve, in real dollar terms, the capital of the UIT. This objective is achieved by ensuring that the annual distribution of income for spending purposes does not exceed the real rate of return (total investment return less inflation) over a period of years. To ensure that this is the case, the spending policy is subject to an annual re-evaluation by the Vice-President (Administration) on the advice of the Committee. Growth in capital, as opposed to preservation of capital, is made possible in two ways. When beneficiary faculties and schools, libraries and support units choose to spend less than their annual distribution, their unspent funds remain as part of their endowment. Further, if the real rate of return exceeds spending over the long term, real growth in capital is experienced. When a beneficiary unit spends less than its allocation, unspent funds are automatically capitalized to the endowment accounts at the end of each year.

Investment Policy Statement (IPS) (PDF)

Performance

Annualized Investment Performance, in $CAD

As of March 31, 2022

Fund 1 year 3 years 5 years
Total Portfolio 9.8% 7.4% 7.1%
Total Portfolio Benchmark 12.0% 10.9% 9.5%
Canadian Bonds -4.7% 0.5% 1.3%
Canadian Bonds Benchmark -5.0% 0.2% 1.1%
Canadian Equities 21.2% 3.8% 3.9%
Canadian Equities Benchmark 20.2% 14.1% 10.3%
U.S. Equities 11.4% 14.3% 12.8%
U.S. Equities Benchmark 14.8% 16.3% 14.5%
International Equities -4.7% 3.9% 4.8%
International Equities Benchmark 0.5% 5.4% 5.3%
Canadian Real Estate 14.6% 8.6% 8.0%
Canadian Real Estate Benchmark 18.7% 8.1% 7.9%
Infrastructure 6.2% 3.4% n/a
Infrastructure Benchmark 10.7% 8.0% n/a

Asset mix and Targets

As of March 31, 2022

Fund Current% Target%
Canadian Bonds 8.5% 10.0%
Canadian Equities 26.8% 24.0%
U.S. Equities 26.0% 24.0%
International Equities 13.1% 14.0%
Canadian Real Estate 16.0% 13.0%
Infrastructure 9.6% 10.0%
Impact Investments 0.0% 5.0%

Investment Managers

As of March 31, 2022

University Investment Trust

Asset Class Manager
Canadian Fixed Income Cidel Asset Management
Canadian Equities

TD Asset Management

RBC Philips Hager North

International Equities Burgundy Asset Management
US Equities

Wellington Management

Aristotle Capital

Canadian Real Estate GWL Realty
Infrastructure Brookfield Asset Management
Impact Investments Brookfield Asset Management

Specific trusts and capital trusts 

Asset Class Manager
Canadian Fixed Income BMO Nesbitt Burns
Balanced Fund Jarislowsky Fraser
Investment Consultant Aon
Custodian CIBC Mellon
Performance Measurement BNY Mellon

The specific trusts

The Specific and Capital Trust Funds are funds that are invested outside of the UIT. The stated purpose of these funds has a shorter time frame, so that investments tend to be more liquid, shorter duration fixed income instruments. At the end of March 31, 2022, these funds had a market value of $63.4 million. .