University of North Carolina, Asheville, is requesting information from investment managers about how to reinvest part of its endowment in sustainable investment options.
"The purpose of this RFI is to develop UNC Asheville's understanding of sustainable investment options for our endowment," and to get advice on drafting an investment policy, the RFI said.
UNC Asheville's $40.5 million endowment is managed by UNC Management Co., which handles the pooled assets within the UNC system. Noting returns of 11.79% last year, a five-year average of 9.16% per year, and a 10-year average of 5.4%, the RFI said UNC Asheville officials are pleased with these returns, but not with the lack of sustainable investing options or transparency into how funds are invested.
The Asheville campus started the UNCA Divest program in 2014 after prodding by students. In early 2017, the chancellor allocated $10,000 for sustainable investing to be managed by students in an ESG fund. A discussion at a June 2017 endowment investment committee meeting "left many questioning whether we are truly invested in funds that align with our mission statement, which expresses commitment to social and environmental sustainability. The culmination of all of these factors leads us to where we are now as an institution," the RFI said.
"We are hoping to hear from firms with expertise in the ESG investing sphere as well as good client-investor relations," the RFI said.
Responses are due Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. EST. Senior buyer Joel Knisley, the RFI contact, could not be reached.