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MONEY MANAGEMENT

Knights of Columbus forms money manager, targets Catholic institutional investors

Knights of Columbus in New York City.
Knights of Columbus in New York City.

Knights of Columbus, a New Haven, Conn.-based Catholic fraternal service organization, launched a money management company that caters to Catholic institutional investors.

Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors is looking to partner with Catholic institutions and provide them with investment options that comply with the church's business guidelines, said Anthony V. Minopoli, chief investment officer of the Knights of Columbus and president and CIO of the newly formed firm.

“We learned that the Catholic market is at least $150 billion in assets. We also learned that it's a highly fragmented market; there wasn't a Catholic focus from managers,” Mr. Minopoli said in a telephone interview.

“Our primary goal is to be at the intersection of solid performance with the Catholic screening,” Mr. Minopoli added.

Investments will be managed according to guidelines from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors is starting out with $21.4 billion in assets under management, all of which belong to the organization. Mr. Minopoli said the goal is to capture 2.5% to 3% of the $150 billion Catholic market over the next three to five years.

The firm launched six strategies Friday — two bond and four equity — in the form of mutual funds and separate accounts. They are limited-duration bond and core bond, and large-cap growth, large-cap value, small-cap core and international equity.

The company will be seeding the six new mutual funds with a $200 million total investment from the Knights of Columbus' general account as well as some charitable entities. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors will manage the fixed-income strategies, while Boston Advisors will subadvise the equity strategies. Knights of Columbus owns a roughly 20% equity stake in Boston Advisors.

Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors will also manage an additional $20.6 billion in fixed income.

The remaining assets are subadvised by other managers, which Mr. Minopoli did not name.

In addition to the investment strategies, the company will offer model portfolio and outsourced CIO services. Mr. Minopoli said he also hopes to launch a bank loan strategy and other alternative investment strategies later this year.

“We're looking to be more than just an asset gatherer. We're hoping to partner with Catholic investors and provide them with what we've been providing Knights of Columbus for years,” said Mr. Minopoli, who joined the organization in 2005.

Although executives at the management company might offer investment services to individuals at some point in the future, Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors is currently targeting only Catholic institutions as clients.

The company currently has 13 investment professionals. James Grant was recruited in the fall as director of marketing. Mr. Grant was head of participant services at Christian Brothers Investment Services and a member of the management team. CBIS spokesman Michael Castino could not be reached by press time.

Mr. Minopoli also said that searches for a portfolio strategist and a marketing and client support director are currently underway.