INSTITUTIONAL INVESTING IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM INDIVIDUAL investing, and that’s not just because, to cite Hemingway’s classic retort to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Yes, they have more money.” Many of us have the opportunity to serve on the investment committees of endowments, pension funds, or other institutions, and all who serve want to be helpful. Here is a primer on what to expect and how to be most helpful.

Most institutional funds are perpetual or nearly perpetual and are governed by committees that delegate investing to external managers. The investment committee’s primary responsibility is not investment management but to assure good governance.

For most investment committees, the main task and responsibility ...

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