University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has decided to implement several changes to its investment practices in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and increase transparency, confirmed university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald in an email.
The changes were announced Thursday at a meeting of the board of regents following a review of the policies, procedures and practices that surround the investment office. The regents oversee the institution's $11.3 billion long-term endowment pool.
One change agreed upon is that the institution will move to written conflict-of-interest disclosure statements from members of the all-volunteer investment advisory committee from verbal disclosure of potential conflicts.
"A small number of the university's investments are in funds managed by members of the IAC. Going forward, should the university make new investments in such funds, it will call specific attention to them for regents to ensure transparency and prepare a plan to manage any perceived conflict," said regent Andrew Richner in a news release.
Mr. Richner added that from now on, the chief investment officer "will present the overarching investment strategy annually at a regents' meeting."
While the investment advisory committee advises on overall investment strategy and does not discuss specific investments, another change agreed upon at the meeting was that if members end up facing any kind of conflict of interest, they will be recused from such discussions.
Mr. Richner also recommended that "the IAC redesignate the endowment previously established by IAC members to support the university's investment office to a need-based student scholarship (or other areas of the institution, as selected by the donors) to avoid any perception of a conflict. The university will not accept any future donations specifically in support of the investment office."