Bob Boldt, former head of the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), today joined Perella Weinberg Partners as head of a new asset management unit called Agility. Bob is an unsung private equity legend, so let’s ask him 5 Questions:
1. Many press reports of your hiring suggest that this is yet another case of an underpaid public endowment manager going for the private sector cash. How much of a factor was compensation in your decision?
It wasn’t number one, but was in the top five. It wasn’t number one, in part, because UTIMCO actually had compensation that was fairly competitive with other endowments and foundations. But we all know that anybody who’s good can make a lot more money in the private sector – except maybe if you’re at Harvard.
2. It seems like you’re trying to recreate the UTIMCO model at Perella Weinburg Partners. Accurate assessment?
Not just UTIMCO, but more generally the large endowment investment model. There were some things we couldn’t do at UTIMCO because of the public-to-private nature of the organization, so what we’ll do is more akin to what other large private endowments have done.
3. Your team will be based in Austin, whereas most efforts of this type are in the Northeast. Why launch from Texas?
Part of it has to do with the fact that Larry Goldsmith and I live in Austin and want to keep living there. There’s really no reason for us to move to New York or somewhere in Connecticut, because of the type of communications systems we’ve got in place. And, third, I think there could be a real quality of life issue for some people. This is a talent business, and if you can offer a nice place to live with good compensation, it’s easier to get and retain talent.
4. You got a lot of job inquiries after leaving UTIMCO late last year. Why did you choose Perella Weinberg Partners?
Well, the first choice was whether I wanted to do semi-retirement… consulting or something like that. I quickly decided against it, and instead decided to start a firm. Then the next choice was how to do it. I could go independent and get some financing to support us before we had enough clients, or the other option was to do something more strategic. Again, fairly early on, we decided to go strategic.
I really believe in the business model Perella Weinberg Partners has in place. They’ve harnessed a lot of intellectual capital and will use it on both the advisory and investment management side…. And, at the end of the day, it’s a group of high-quality people that I really like and who will help provide us with a lot of good investment opportunities.
5. You and I first spoke several years ago, during the private equity disclosure situation in Texas. Looking back on it, how do you view the decision you made?
I would say that the way we handled the whole private equity disclosure issue was one of my high points at UTIMCO. I really think we handled it as well as we could have. Specifically, we worked with the attorney general and legislature to get legislation passed that basically allows public funds in the state of Texas to invest in private equity – which was not an easy thing to do. A lot of people told us that we had no chance at all, but we did it. It was important for the future not just of UTIMCO, but also other public systems like Texas Teachers.