UC Board of Regents discusses investments, workplace diversity, real estate

UC Board of Regents/Courtesy
The UC Regents Investments Committee met virtually Wednesday to discuss multiple topical issues. Some of these include UC investments, diversity and inclusion in UC workplaces and future investment in real estate.

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The UC Regents Investments Committee met virtually Wednesday to discuss UC investments, diversity and inclusion in UC workplaces and future investment in real estate, among other topics.

The meeting began with a public comment session, where five members of the public brought up their concerns with the development of the Maunakea telescope and research with aborted fetuses at UCSF. Further concerns included increased graduate and family housing rent prices at UC San Diego and the lack of a fair contract for UC Davis employees.

After the public comment session, UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher provided updates on UC investment products, including retirement assets, endowment and working capital pools.

Bachher noted that, as of March 31, the UC system had about $160 billion in assets. When broken down, the retirement system consisted of $118 billion, the working capital pool had $24.1 billion, the endowment pool had $18 billion and the newly-created Blue and Gold pool had $200 million.

“If you fast forward from March 31 to last Friday, we were at $165 billion,” Bachher said during the meeting. “I expect, if these markets remain flat for the next 45 days as we travel to the end of this fiscal year, we could end up at about $160 billion or slightly north of that.”

Afterward, UC Chief Operating Officer Arthur Guimaraes shared the results of the annual Diversified Return Report.

Guimaraes emphasized that, since the last Diversified Return Report on June 30, 2020, the UC system has added five new managers, three of whom identified as female, Black or Latinx.

Guimaraes also shared how the recent hiring process for the newest Investments Operations Analyst was “exciting,” from the way the job description was written and how it attracted diverse applicants. Guimaraes noted that the “best candidate” came from a “100% diverse” finalist pool.

Later, UC Berkeley economics professor Christina Romer described her perspective on inflation in the near future. While some economists have claimed that U.S. President Joseph Biden’s American Rescue Plan will result in significant inflation, Romer disagreed.

“There is a lot of slack in the labor market,” Romer said during the meeting. “Where you really worry about inflation is where you’re pushing up against the productive capacity of the country, and I think the smart money is on the view that we’re a long way away from that.”

UC Investment Officer Jessica Hans shared the status of the UC system’s real estate portfolio, as well as the status of the real estate market in general.

Hans noted that many financial institutions are hopeful of an economic recovery in the near future, especially in regard to office real estate.

“Some have the view that we’ll revert to a use of office as a society that looks very similar to our use of office pre-pandemic, meaning commuting into the city five days a week and being in the office between the hours of 9 to 5, or 9 to 5 plus,” Hans said during the meeting.

Contact Karen Vo at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @karenvo_DC.