Finance & Investing

Office of Investments

An aerial view of dark and light green wetlands with patches of blue water.
Pantanal Wetlands, Brazil The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area, and the world's largest flooded grasslands. © Gabriel Gabino Moreira/TNC Photo Contest 2019

The Office of Investments is responsible for managing TNC’s long-term investments and endowment pools totaling approximately $4.0 billion. These funds support TNC’s global operations and most pressing conservation projects.

TNC focuses its efforts on conservation of the lands and waters on which all life depends through scientific exploration, policy engagement, positive collaboration with the private sector and fostering innovation. This work enables large scale conservation, catalytic science and impactful programs and investments across the enterprise, which are supported by the capital invested in the Long-Term Portfolio. TNC’s Long-Term Portfolio is comprised of long-term capital pools, donor advised funds and endowment assets.

The Office of Investments’ mission is to preserve and grow the purchasing power of TNC’s Long-Term Portfolio.

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    $4B

    Total Long-Term Portfolio Assets

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    12

    Investment and Operations Professionals

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    5.75%

    Annual Payout

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    10-15%

    of TNC's Annual Operating Budget

Our History

Prudent management of TNC’s long-term assets has allowed the organization to deliver on its conservation mission.

As TNC and its long-term assets have grown, so has the approach to asset management. What began as a sole Director of Investments responsible for long-term investment management, evolved to include external partnerships with Outsourced Chief Investment Officer firms, who assisted with portfolio and asset manager oversight. With this also came forays into investing in new asset classes and investment models and the portfolio’s first impact investing carve out was established in 2017.

Today, TNC’s endowment and long-term investment pools are managed solely by the Chief Investment Officer and internal Office of Investments (“OOI”) team. The OOI is comprised of investment and operations professionals responsible for taking a strategic approach to preserve and grow the Long-Term Portfolio. Through careful management by partnering with world-class investment managers, the OOI upholds TNC’s values including integrity, commitment to diversity and fostering tangible, lasting results in all investment decisions.

About Us

With oversight from the Global Board Investment Committee, the OOI is responsible for the management of TNC's endowment and other long-term investment assets through strategic execution, day-to-day monitoring and operational due diligence.

The OOI is comprised of 12 individuals dedicated to investments and operations. The Chief Investment Officer provides leadership, vision and oversight to the management and strategic growth of the portfolio. 

Office of Investments Team

Click the headshots for more information about each team member.

Three-Year Analyst Program

Our three-year investment analyst program prepares future leaders through exposure to private investments, public investments and co-investments.

The investment analysts serve as an integral part of the team, assisting across Domestic Equities, Global Equities, International Developed Equities and Emerging Market Equities, Fixed Income, Cash and Cash Equivalents, Hedged Strategies, Private Equity, Real Assets and Direct investment efforts.

After three years in the program, analysts have numerous career avenues including business school, continuing their careers in asset management or transitioning to buy-side investment firms.

Please reach out to Victoria Dorsey at Victoria.dorsey@tnc.org for further details.

 

How We Invest

We seek to partner with world-class investment managers to invest on TNC’s behalf. We embrace alternative investments for their diversification and return-enhancing characteristics, and we believe in the merit of active management.

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    Investment Approach

    We take the long-term view of investing. This allows us to think independently during market cycles and maintain a disciplined focus on long-term growth. We bring a similar mindset to our investment partnerships.

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    Partners

    Through investment manager assessment and selection, we aim to partner with investment managers seeking outsized returns with a long-term horizon. Each of our partners is assessed through our “8Ps” framework.

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    Performance

    To evaluate performance, the Long-Term Portfolio is assessed relative to the Policy Benchmark, which incorporates the static weights of the Policy Asset Allocation Targets and the returns of relevant benchmarks.

“8Ps” Framework

Click the images for more information.

An upwards look towards a canopy of trees.
Illusion Looking up towards the canopy of trees in Brazil. © Alan W. Eckert

ESG & Sustainable Investing

Approach to Sustainable Investing: We believe strongly that sustainable business practices can yield attractive financial returns as well as positive externalities for stakeholders and the environment. The Long-Term Portfolio’s #1 goal has two parts, 1.A: strong financial returns and 1.B: strong mission alignment. We carefully integrate such considerations into our investment process and strive to employ managers who use ESG criteria to inform investment decisions.

Sustainable Investing Framework: The Office of Investments (“OOI”) excludes certain investment opportunities from the investment portfolio when deemed inconsistent with TNC’s mission, and proactively pursues high-quality investments with positive environmental benefits.

In TNC’s liquid portfolio at-large, the OOI has created restrictions that exclude companies or sectors that don’t meet our ESG criteria: Extractive Activities, GHG Emissions, Natural Resource Use and Future Emissions.

In TNC’s private investment portfolio, the OOI intentionally invests in funds with strong ESG/impact strategies. The private investment portfolio has a strong emphasis on climate technology and other strategies that focus on climate solutions.

Co-Investments: TNC’s co-investment program focuses on mission-aligned companies that are catalyzing direct sustainability innovation and furthering TNC’s 2030 climate and biodiversity goals.

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TNC's Customized Restrictions

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Extractive Activities

Companies that generate 5% or more of their annual revenues from extractive activities.

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GHG Emissions

Companies where estimated environmental damage costs, for direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, are 5% or more of annual revenues.

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Natural Resource Use

Companies where estimated environmental damage costs, for direct and indirect (or supply chain) natural resource use, are 5% or more of annual revenues.

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Future Emissions

Companies with quantifiable future emissions from proven and probable fossil fuel reserves.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Applying a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (“DEIJ”) lens within the Long-Term Portfolio reinforces The Nature Conservancy’s mission of “living our values,” while simultaneously promoting underrepresented communities in the financial industry without sacrificing financial returns. This effort will attempt to increase the prominence, relevance and social stature of these minority groups through three main pathways:

  1.  Intentionally hiring investment managers with diverse ownership.
  2.  Encouraging investment managers to hire, train and mentor underrepresented groups, especially on their investment teams.
  3.  Investing in strategies that seek to empower underrepresented groups.
Wind farm turbines on a ridge top.
Wind farm turbines on a ridge top. Wind farm turbines in a ridge top. © Kent Mason

Contact Us

Public Investments: OOI_Public_Investments@tnc.org

Private InvestmentsOOI_Private_Investments@tnc.org

Co-InvestmentsOOI_Direct_Coinvestments@tnc.org

For all other Office of Investments inquiriesInvestments@tnc.org

FAQ

  • Who manages the endowment funds?

    The day-to-day oversight of the endowment lies with the Office of Investments, led by TNC’s Chief Investment Officer. The team also provides oversight for other related pools of investments, including Planned Giving Assets, global retirement plans, Blue Bonds, Panama Trust and the Australian endowment.

  • What is the difference between TNC’s NatureVest and Office of Investments?

    Whereas NatureVest, TNC's in-house impact investing team, sources proprietary deals and helps consult and/or raise money from external parties to help fund these deals and projects, the Office of Investments manages internal TNC long-term investments and endowment pools.

  • Who approves the investment guidelines?

    The management of the endowment is governed by the Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The IPS contains the investment guidelines, roles and responsibilities. The Investment Committee of TNC’s Global Board of Directors approves the IPS, which is implemented by TNC’s Office of Investments.

  • How often do you rebalance or what triggers a rebalancing decision?

    While some institutions have a mechanical requirement to rebalance to policy targets at a given frequency (typically quarterly), TNC’s requirement is to remain within the policy ranges. This is what triggers automatic rebalancing, and there’s a 90-day window to ensure portfolio alignment with the ranges.

  • Describe TNC’s Cash Management Process.

    Day-to-day oversight of short-term cash is handled by TNC’s Treasury team, a distinct team from the Office of Investments.

  • What is TNC’s Spending Rate Policy?

    The current spending policy is 5.75% over a rolling 36-month window.