Stanford Endowment Director Departs for Alternatives Manager

  • Vera Minar joins Columbia Pacific Advisors in Seattle
  • Exit is the latest in Stanford's fund office overhaul

A director at Stanford University’s endowment joined Columbia Pacific Advisors, a Seattle firm that specializes in alternative investments, the latest management departure at the school’s $22.2 billion fund.

Vera Minar will oversee opportunistic strategy and serve as chief investment officer for the firm’s wealth management affiliate, Columbia Pacific said Wednesday in a statement. Minar spent nine years at Stanford, most recently as the manager of absolute return and fixed income. Those portfolios accounted for about 27 percent of the fund’s assets under management as of June 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Columbia Pacific’s leaders laid a strong foundation for their 27-year track record of success, and I’m thrilled to contribute to its further growth,” Minar said in the statement.

Alternative Strategies

Columbia Pacific, co-founded by Dan Baty, Stan Baty and Alex Washburn, manages more than $1 billion in a variety of alternative investment strategies including real estate, private equity and distressed debt, according to the statement. Its Columbia Pacific Wealth Management affiliate, founded in 2011, has more than $2 billion in assets under management for clients including wealthy individuals, foundations and endowments.

Brad Hayward, a spokesman for the university, declined to comment on Minar’s departure.

Minar follows other departures at Stanford’s investment office since Robert Wallace was hired as the endowment’s chief executive officer in March 2015. Odile Disch-Bhadkamkar, the fund’s chief financial officer, will retire in the spring, making her the fifth managing director to leave since Wallace’s appointment.

Wallace, a veteran of Yale University’s investment office, previously ran London-based money manager Alta Advisers. In a brief report last year, Stanford Management Co. said it would overhaul its portfolio.

Stanford, which is located near Palo Alto, California, reported a 7 percent investment return on its endowment in the fiscal year ending June 30.

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