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Texas College Fund Awards $7.2 Million in Bonuses to Managers

Texas’s public university endowment, the second-largest U.S. college fund, handed out $7.2 million in bonuses to 29 managers after investments beat benchmarks for three straight years, according to the fund’s top executive.

The biggest award, almost $1.88 million, went to Bruce Zimmerman, the chief executive officer of the University of Texas Investment Management Co., and half of that will be spread over three years, according to Zimmerman. President Cathy Iberg got about $1.08 million, he said, while the smallest payout was $25,000. The fund paid $5.1 million in 2010 bonuses.

Board members of the company, often called UTIMCO, awarded the payments yesterday at a meeting in Austin. The fund earned 20 percent on investments in the 12 months through August, ranking in the middle of about 20 large university endowments, Zimmerman said. His bonus is more than three times his base salary of $600,000. With assets of $25.4 billion on Sept. 30, he said the fund has gained 7 percent a year in the past decade.

“The board was very happy with our results,” said Zimmerman, who joined the company in 2007 from Citigroup Inc., where he was investment chief. “Our actual return has exceeded our policy benchmarks by $1.8 billion over the past three years, which is probably the best way to measure a staff.”

Paul Foster, the company’s chairman, didn’t immediately respond to a telephone call seeking comment on the awards. Foster also leads petroleum-product marketer Western Refining Inc., based in El Paso.

The endowment, which invested in gold bullion earlier this year, plans to expand private-equity investments to include overseas mining and agriculture ventures during the next few years, Mark Warner, senior director for natural resources, said at the meeting. As much as $1.5 billion will be placed in the two industries within five years, up from less than $20 million currently, according to materials handed out during the session.

“It’s a tremendous playing field for guys who know the space and there are only five or six firms that really know the space,” Warner said, referring to mining industry investors.

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