Established over 800 years ago in 1209, Cambridge University is one of the oldest surviving Universities in the world and has spawned more Nobel Prizes than any other institution. In today’s conversation we welcome Tilly Franklin their Chief Investment Officer, whose education includes Cambridge, Harvard and LBS. She discusses her academic experiences before her journey through McKinsey, Virgin, Apax and Alta prior to accepting the job at Cambridge University.
Tilly discusses some of the key skills she acquired at these institutions from understanding businesses at McKinsey to learning how to negotiate deals at Apax. She then discusses the goals of the Cambridge University Endowment, its target of achieving inflation +5% , the disbursements that have totalled nearly £1 billion over the last decade, and structuring the team since her recent arrival. She discusses their asset allocation and investment committee, their increasing allocation to private equity, the ownership of real assets which includes a large proportion of property and their search for less correlated assets.
She unpicks the dilemma of the Endowment’s long term perspective and occasional agitations for policy change from students and provides a compelling insight into Cambridge’s work on the energy transition and the investment consequences.
Tilly then discusses the charity she helped establish, GAIN, GIRLS ARE INVESTORS, a community set to change the staggering lack of gender diversity in investment management, from the ground up. Finally she discusses why she enjoys her job, what a first time visitor to Cambridge should see, the challenge of raising two daughters against this current backdrop and some great advice to young folks who should worry less about “knowing what they want to do”!