Trust Funds

Core Functions and Mission

Core Functions

The Trust Funds Office is responsible for the administrative and investment oversight of endowment and other investable funds entrusted to the Board of Regents of the UW System.  These funds currently consist primarily of monies that have been gifted directly to a UW institution, rather than to one of the separate, supporting foundations.  The Office reports to and supports the Business, Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Regents, which serves as the ultimate fiduciary and trustee of these investable funds.

Core investment oversight efforts include the following: 1) determination of investment policies and guidelines, 2) determination of appropriate investment strategies, asset allocations, and spending policies, 3) implementation of investment strategies, primarily through the selection of external managers, 4) on-going evaluation of overall investment performance and manager performance.  Although investment objectives focus primarily on financial return relative to risks assumed, considerations of "social responsibility" are not ignored.  Social issues brought to the attention of the Office and/or the Board of Regents are typically researched by staff and reported on to the Business and Finance Committee.  Also, shareholder proxies are voted in a socially-conscious manner, consistent with Regent policies.

Regarding administration, the Trust Funds Office works externally with donors and other related parties, and internally with the benefiting campuses and colleges, to facilitate the receipt and proper use (compliant with donor terms and conditions) of all gifts and bequests.  Operationally, the Office is responsible for the deposit of funds, fund- and account-level transaction processing, maintenance of the donor account-level recordkeeping system and its reconciliation and integration with other accounting systems.


The mission of the Trust Funds Office is to:

  • Provide the Board of Regents with the support, information and analyses they require to fulfill their oversight responsibilities as fiduciaries and trustees.
  • Provide excellent (valuable, timely, accurate and efficient) products and services to our internal and external "customers," primarily Trust Funds account-holders and donors.  Products and services include investment vehicles, investment counseling, transaction processing, recordkeeping, and the dissemination of useful information and data.
  • Regarding the investment of entrusted funds:
    • Strive to ensure that the knowledge base and investment management capabilities of Trusts Funds’ investment staff are at the "leading edge."
    • So as to support a higher and more predictable level of spending and/or to more aggressively grow the underlying asset base of various asset pools, continuously strive to attain the following:
      • For the endowment (i.e., the Long Term Fund), strive to best “engineer” the portfolio to achieve a target rate of return with the lowest possible level of risk.
      • For other pools (e.g., the Intermediate Term and Income Funds), strive to best “engineer” the portfolio to achieve the highest rate of return or income stream at the targeted levels of risk.