What We Do

Whatever your investment or asset management need, the HighGround Advisors investment team offers comprehensive products and services tailored to protect, strengthen and grow the assets of our nonprofit clients and charitably minded individuals. HighGround Advisors has developed a flexible investment model designed specifically for nonprofits by leveraging the expertise of 50+ world-class, institutional investment firms and a dedicated team of 10 internal investment professionals.

And as a part of our due diligence, we are always looking for opportunities to create efficiencies and to reduce cost through investment manager fee negotiations and potential new investment manager strategies. Following our latest review of our managers’ investment management fees, we were able to reduce fees across several managers and were also able to confirm that we are receiving the lowest fee available with each manager. We are confident that our management fees are highly competitive, and in some cases, more competitive than market. 

Services

Financial Assets Portfolio Management

  • Manage endowment, corporate assets, operating reserves, working capital, building funds and short-term liquidity needs
  • Construct multi-asset class funds utilizing a manager of managers approach
  • Develop portfolios, which range from fully outsourced, turnkey investment offerings to customized solutions tailored to your unique governance oversight
  • Advise and consult to design investment solutions that are responsive to and highly integrated into your organization's financial objectives
  • Implement portfolios using HighGround’s investment funds, third party, externally managed funds or a combination of the two
  • Provide performance reporting quarterly (customized performance reporting can be developed for separate accounts)

Minerals Management

HighGround’s Minerals Management team manages approximately 2 million gross mineral acres (217,000 net mineral acres) with more than 5,000 producing properties located in 27 states and Canada (87% located in Texas and Oklahoma) for over 70 clients.

  • Monitor agreement terms for both non-producing and producing properties
  • Negotiate leases for the maximum lease bonus and royalty
  • Receive, analyze and execute division orders
  • Standard lease form preparation and legal review
  • Receive and process royalty payments (both checks and electronic transfers)
  • Ensure surface rights are protected and compensated
  • Maintain a complete inventory of all oil and gas assets for clients

Real Estate Management

HighGround’s Real Estate Management team sold 50 properties across the U.S. in the past five years ranging in price from $7,500 to $9 million and totaling over $45 million. We consult and advise donors on the acquisition, sale and management of gifts of agricultural, residential and commercial real estate to nonprofit organizations.

  • Property inspection
  • Analysis (including preliminary environmental assessment)
  • Determination of approximate Fair Market Value (FMV)
  • Property management (mowing, maintenance, leasing, note receivables, trash removal)
  • Marketing and selling of property
  • Document preparation (real estate legal services)

 

flexible investment platform

HighGround is an experienced provider of nonprofit investment management, offering a range of different solutions based on each client’s needs and resources. Our comprehensive approach takes into consideration factors that extend well beyond portfolio management. We take the time to gain insight into how your organization functions and what is critical to your success. Our platform can be explained as a fully discretionary, open architecture, manager of managers structure implemented through the use of proprietary investment funds, mutual funds or a combination of the two.

LEVEL 1: HighGround Chief Investment Officer (OCIO model)

How does it work?

This solution is specific to endowment clients and is offered in two forms — a commingled fund (HighGround Endowment Fund) or a customized separate account. In either case, this represents the most comprehensive array of service offerings provided by HighGround, including account support services and all aspects of investment management. The HighGround Endowment Fund is constructed using our most advanced portfolio design techniques and is designed to meet investment objectives and risk profiles that are common to most endowments. For separate accounts, we utilize our investment funds, mutual funds, commingled pools or a combination of these to create a customized solution just for you.

This service level is most suitable for an organization that wishes to grow their assets but does not have the resources housed internally to achieve growth on their own. HighGround will serve as your total outsourced investment solution.  

LEVEL 2: Direct Investment + HighGround Advisory Services

How does it work?

We work with clients to identity and set their investment objectives and risk tolerances and determine any unique investment preferences they may desire in the portfolio. We then design and implement a portfolio to meet those specific needs. We investment directly into one or more our investment funds, mutual funds, commingled pools or a combination of these to create a customized solution just for you. HighGround provides full investment advisory functions at the client’s desired level of discretion.

This service level is most suitable for assets such as: general operating reserves, working capital, insurance reserves, building funds, single purpose endowment accounts that do not require customized administrative services and other single purpose accounts.

 

LEVEL 3: Build Your Own Investment Portfolio –  Direct Investment 

How does it work?

Clients set their investment objectives and risk tolerances. Then they invest directly into one or more of HighGround’s investment funds to meet or fulfill all or a portion of their investment program. HighGround serves to help you achieve your objective. 

This service level is most suitable for assets such as: general operating reserves, working capital, building funds or other special purpose accounts that do not require complex multi-asset class portfolio structures to meet investment and risk objectives and do not require customized administrative services.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Our highly disciplined investment program is based on our belief that fundamentally sound investment and risk management practices, when applied consistently, improve the ability to meet your investment objectives. At the heart of our investment philosophy is our belief that capital markets typically reward investors over time. Investors with well diversified portfolios realize these rewards when market risk exposures are properly aligned with investment time horizons and risk tolerances.

The portfolio construction process is built on our belief that asset allocation is the single largest driver of investment risk and performance. We advocate for diversification across the full, global opportunity set of investments in both public and private markets to improve risk-adjusted performance. HighGround utilizes active management extensively with the objective to increase economic value over passive investment options.

Our philosophy centers around five tenets:

  • Asset Allocation
  • Capturing long-term market risk premiums
  • Global diversification
  • Active management
  • Disciplined process

Our Process

HighGround Advisors uses a disciplined, ethical and highly transparent approach that safeguards and balances your short-term financial needs with long-term objectives. Our process involves developing all of the following steps to ensure we deliver for you: 

  • Define investment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizons
  • Identify any investment constraints or limitations
  • Formulate strategy
  • Perform asset allocation analysis
  • Create or modify Investment Policy Statement (IPS)

  • Develop asset class and sub-asset class strategy
  • Manager research and selection
  • Manager due diligence
  • Portfolio construction within risk parameters
  • Implement approved strategies and managers

  • Performance measurement
  • Risk management
  • Provide ongoing management of portfolios and managers
  • Evaluate, monitor and interpret results

  • Capital market dynamics
  • Investment opportunity set
  • Global diversification
  • Portfolio optimization
  • Ongoing manager research

Investment Funds

X

HighGround Endowment Fund

  • Total assets: $1.3 billion
  • Inception date: July 1991
  • Subadvisors: n/a
  • Strategy: HighGround Endowment Fund is HighGround’s primary commingled investment fund designed for long-term endowment assets and offers a fully outsourced investment solution for nonprofits. The Fund employs a globally diversified multi-asset class strategy with a risk and return profile that aligns with the perpetual investment horizon and long-term objectives of endowment assets. The Fund is managed as a fund-of-funds and constructed using HighGround’s public equity and fixed income investment funds, as well as its alternative asset class funds.
X

HighGround Domestic Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $423.7 million
  • Inception date: April 1995
  • Subadvisors:
    • HighGround Large Cap Equity Fund
      • Loomis Sayles (Growth)
      • Sound Shore Management (Value)
      • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
    • HighGround Equity Index Fund
      • Northern Trust Asset Management (S&P 500® Index)
    • HighGround Mid Cap Equity Index Fund
      • Northern Trust Asset Management (S&P 400® Index)
    • HighGround Small Cap Equity Fund
      • Boston Partners (Value)
      • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
  • Strategy: HighGround Domestic Equity Fund provides well diversified investment exposure to the broad U.S. public equity market. The Fund is managed as a fund-of-funds and constructed using HighGround’s Equity Index Fund as well as the Large, Mid and Small Cap Equity Funds. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround Equity Index Fund

  • Total assets: $189.7 million
  • Inception date: April 1995
  • Subadvisor:
    • Northern Trust Asset Management (S&P 500® Index)
  • Strategy: HighGround Equity Index Fund is passively managed and seeks to replicate the investment return of the S&P 500® Index.
X

HighGround Large Cap Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $191.8 million
  • Inception date: July 1991
  • Subadvisors:
    • Loomis Sayles (Growth)
    • Sound Shore Management (Value)
    • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
  • Strategy: HighGround Large Cap Equity Fund provides diversified investment exposure to publicly traded large and mid-size companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround Mid Cap Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $13.9 million
  • Inception date: December 2016
  • Subadvisor:
    • Northern Trust Asset Management (S&P 400® Index)
  • Strategy: HighGround Mid Cap Equity Index Fund is passively managed and seeks to replicate the investment return of the S&P 400® Index.
X

HighGround Small Cap Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $53.8 million
  • Inception date: May 1997
  • Subadvisors:
    • Boston Partners (Value)
    • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
  • Strategy: HighGround Small Cap Equity Fund provides diversified investment exposure to publicly traded small cap companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround International Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $408.6 million
  • Inception date: May 1995
  • Subadvisors:
    • HighGround Developed Markets Equity Fund (75%)
      • Kabouter Management (Small Cap)
      • MFS Institutional Advisors (Market-Growth)
      • Mondrian Investment Partners (Value)
      • William Blair & Company (Growth)
    • HighGround Emerging Markets Equity Fund (25%)
      • Causeway Capital Management (Market-Value)
      • Harding Loevner (Market-Growth)
      • Somerset Capital Management (Small Cap/Market-Growth)
      • Westwood Global Investments (Market)
    • Strategy: HighGround International Equity Fund provides well diversified investment exposure to the broad non-U.S. public equity markets, including developed and emerging market countries. The Fund is managed as a fund-of-funds constructed using HighGround’s Developed Markets and Emerging Markets Equity Funds. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, regional, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround Developed Markets Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $308.2 million
  • Inception date: January 2000
  • Subadvisors:
    • J O Hambro Capital Management (Growth)
    • Kabouter Management (Small Cap)
    • MFS Institutional Advisors (Market-Growth)
    • Mondrian Investment Partners (Value)
    • Trinity Street Asset Management (Market-Value)
  • Strategy: HighGround Developed Markets Equity Fund provides diversified investment exposure to publicly traded companies domiciled in foreign countries with advanced economies and capital markets; however, up to 20% of the Fund may also be invested in companies domiciled in emerging market countries. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, regional, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround Emerging Markets Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $103.8 million
  • Inception date: January 2000
  • Subadvisors:
    • Causeway Capital Management (Market-Value)
    • Harding Loevner (Market-Growth)
    • Somerset Capital Management Small Cap (Market-Growth)
    • Westwood Global Investments (Market)
  • Strategy: HighGround Emerging Markets Equity Fund provides diversified investment exposure to publicly traded companies domiciled in foreign countries that are progressing toward becoming more advanced economies, usually through rapid growth and industrialization. Emerging market countries have equity markets that have lower liquidity, less regulation and weaker accounting standards than countries with developed markets. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, regional, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.
X

HighGround Global Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $73.1 million
  • Inception date: January 1991
  • Subadvisors:
    • Large Cap Equity Fund
      • Loomis Sayles (Growth)
      • Sound Shore Management (Value)
      • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
    • Small Cap Equity Fund
      • Boston Partners (Value)
      • Westfield Capital Management (Growth)
    • Equity Index Fund
      • Northern Trust Asset Management
    • International Developed Markets Equity Fund
      • J O Hambro Capital Management (Growth)
      • Kaubouter Management (Small Cap)
      • MFS Institutional Advisors (Market-Growth)
      • Mondrian Investment Partners (Value)
      • Trinity Street Asset Management (Market-Value)
    • International Emerging Markets Equity Fund
      • Causeway Capital Management
      • Harding Loevner
      • Somerset Capital Management
      • Westwood Global Investments
    • Strategy: HighGround Global Equity Fund provides well diversified, broad investment exposure to global public equity markets. The Fund is managed as a fund-of-funds and constructed using HighGround’s Domestic Equity Fund and International Equity Fund and is employed primarily in planned giving portfolios (e.g. charitable remainder trusts and gift annuities) to gain exposure to global public equity markets. The Fund’s strategy relies on stock selection as the primary source of added value above the return of the benchmark, with capitalization, regional, economic sector and style exposures similar to those of the benchmark.

 

X

HighGround Private Equity Fund

  • Total assets: $51.5 million
  • Inception date: December 2007
  • Advisor:
    • Pathway
  • Strategy: HighGround Private Equity Fund provides investment exposure to private companies diversified across global regions and economic sectors. Investments are made through private limited liability investment vehicles (e.g. limited partnerships) sponsored by external investment managers that specialize in corporate buy-out, venture capital, and distressed and special situation investment opportunities. The Fund’s strategy seeks to earn an illiquidity return premium over the returns of public equity.
X

HighGround Bond Fund

  • Total assets: $216.6 million
  • Inception date: April 1995
  • Subadvisors:
    • Dodge & Cox
    • PIMCO
  • Strategy: HighGround Bond Fund provides diversified investment exposure to primarily U.S. investment grade fixed income securities, including U.S. Treasury, mortgage and corporate debt, but may also have limited exposure to high yield and non-dollar fixed income securities. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies. The Fund’s strategy relies on sector rotation, duration management and security selection to add value above the return of the benchmark, with credit quality, duration and sector exposures that are similar to those of the benchmark.

 

X

HighGround Enhanced Cash Fund

  • Yield as of 06/17/19: 2.30%
  • Total assets: $151.1 million
  • Inception date: April 2005
  • Subadvisors:
    • Northern Trust Asset Management U.S. Government Fund
    • Fidelity Money Market Prime Institutional
    • Caprin Asset Management
  • Strategy: HighGround Enhanced Cash Fund provides diversified investment exposure to U.S. investment grade money market and short to medium term fixed income securities, including U.S. Treasury, mortgage, corporate and municipal bonds. The Fund is managed as a fund-of-funds and seeks to earn current yields in excess of money market rates, while also providing preservation of principal, daily liquidity and a constant net asset value. The Fund is constructed by combining a prime money market portfolio and a high quality, higher yielding low duration fixed income portfolio. The fixed income portfolio has credit quality, duration and sector exposures similar to the ICE BofAML Corporate & Government 1-3 Year Index.
X

HighGround Global Bond Fund

  • Total assets: $86.1 million
  • Inception date: December 2015
  • Subadvisors:
    • Brandywine Global Investment Management
    • PIMCO
  • Strategy: HighGround Global Bond Fund provides diversified investment exposure to primarily developed market sovereign debt but can also include some exposure to emerging market debt, as well as corporate and mortgage fixed income securities. Foreign exchange risk is fully hedged from a policy perspective; however, limited exposure to foreign currencies is permitted. The Fund is constructed using multiple external investment managers with complementary investment strategies and portfolios. The Fund’s strategy relies on country and sector rotation, duration management and security selection to add value above the return of the performance benchmark, with overall credit quality, duration and regional exposures that are similar to those of the performance benchmark.
X

Please add content under Blog in CMS.

X

HighGround Real Estate Fund

  • Total assets: $106.9 million
  • Inception date: May 2006
  • Advisor:
    • Townsend

Strategy: HighGround Real Estate Fund provides investment exposure to institutional quality real estate assets, diversified across all commercial property types (e.g. office, retail, multi-family) and geographic regions, including investments outside the U.S. Investments may include “operating” assets, characterized by high occupancy levels, low leverage, high quality credit tenants, and strong cash flow, as well as higher risk, higher return “value added” and “opportunistic” assets (non-core). Investments are primarily made through private limited liability investment vehicles (e.g. limited partnerships) sponsored by external investment managers that specialize in real estate but may also include investments in equity-oriented credit and mortgage related assets, as well as public sector investments (e.g. REITs).

X

HighGround Energy Fund

  • Total assets: $26.4 million
  • Inception date: January 2011
  • Advisors:
    • HighGround Advisors
  • Strategy: HighGround Energy Fund provides diversified investment exposure to energy related and other real assets that can offer a hedge against unexpected inflation. Investments may include oil and gas, power generation, commodity, infrastructure, timber, agriculture and other natural resources. Most of the Fund’s investments are made through private limited liability investment vehicles (e.g. limited partnerships) sponsored by external specialist investment managers. The Fund’s illiquid investments are expected to earn a return premium over the returns of similar investments available in the liquid public equity markets.
X

HighGround Marketable Alternatives Fund

  • Total assets: $140.5 million
  • Inception date: May 2014
  • Subadvisors:
    • Evanston Capital Management
      • 23 Investment Strategies
        • 11 Long/Short Equity
        • 7 Event Driven
        • 2 Relative Value
        • 3 Global Asset Allocation
      • Forester Capital
        • 37 Investment Strategies
          • 24 Long/Short Equity
          • 9 Credit
          • 4 Event Driven
        • Strategy: HighGround Marketable Alternatives Fund provides semi-liquid investment exposure to a diversified portfolio of hedge fund strategies that may include long/short equity, long/short credit, event driven, distressed, global macro, relative value or other hedging strategies consisting of marketable securities. The Fund seeks to generate returns with low correlation to the returns of the public equity and fixed income markets and is employed in endowment portfolios to reduce volatility and provide downside protection during periods of stress in the capital markets. Investments are made through private limited liability investment vehicles (e.g. limited partnerships) sponsored by external investment managers specializing in one or more hedge fund strategies and are diversified by strategy, sectors and geography, including some non-U.S. investments.

Investment Performance

ANNUALIZED PERIODS ENDING MARCH 31, 2019 CALENDAR YEAR HISTORY
  Quarter 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years Since Inception  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
HG Endowment Fund - Apex 6.59% 1.70% 7.85% 4.95% 9.18% 7.26% Jul-91 -4.14% 16.02%  4.77% -1.19% 4.59% 17.87%
HG Endowment Fund - Peak 6.57% 1.63% 7.83% 4.94% 9.17% 7.26%   -4.19% 16.03% 4.79% -1.19% 4.59% 17.87%
HG Endowment Fund - Summit 6.55% 1.55% 7.73% 4.88% 9.14% 7.25%   -4.29% 15.85% 4.76% -1.19% 4.59% 17.87%
HG Domestic Equity Fund 14.09% 6.86% 12.69% 8.55% 14.42% 8.63% Apr-95 -6.77% 21.25% 9.12% -1.79% 10.73% 35.29%
HG Equity Index Fund 13.48% 9.89% 13.47% 10.79% 15.60% 9.42% Apr-95 -4.08% 21.66%  11.77% 1.31% 13.13% 32.07%
HG Large Cap Equity Fund (Gross) 14.44% 7.27% 13.90% 9.78% 15.16% 9.65% Jul-91 -6.41% 24.52% 8.96% -0.63% 12.31% 36.31%
HG Mid Cap Equity Index Fund 14.40% 2.49% - - - 8.30% Dec-16 -11.17% 16.00%  - -
HG Small Cap Equity Fund (Gross) 16.74% 0.67% 13.04% 7.76% 16.90% 10.22%  May-97 -12.60% 17.53% 20.05% -2.82% 5.75% 38.38%
HG International Equity Fund 8.18% -5.62% 7.53% 2.72% 8.40% 5.36%  May-95 -12.52% 27.57% 2.42% -4.58% -2.94% 16.80%
HG Developed Markets Equity Fund (Gross) 8.35% -2.37% 8.02% 3.55% 9.46% 3.98%  Jan-00 -10.86% 26.91%  0.70% -0.82% -2.18% 22.36%
HG Emerging Markets Equity Fund 8.52% -12.47% 9.63% 2.71% 8.77% 5.44%  Jan-00 -15.18% 32.77%  11.59% -14.64% -2.30% 0.02%
HG Global Equity Fund 11.15% 0.53% 10.14% 5.68% 11.49% 8.37%  Jan-91 -9.62% 24.16% 6.03% -3.25% 3.97% 26.04%
HG Bond Fund 3.02% 3.94% 3.02% 2.87% 5.28% 6.07%  Apr-95 -0.10% 4.22%  4.16% -0.45% 5.48% -0.82%
HG Global Bond Fund 2.86% -2.10% 2.62% - - 3.75%  Dec-15 -3.03% 8.22% 5.64% - - -
HG Enhanced Cash Fund 0.53% 1.84% 1.28% 1.02% 1.02% 1.87%  Apr-05 1.65% 1.06% 0.79% 0.62% 0.58% 0.67%
HG Marketable Alternatives Fund 1.62% -0.70% 4.97% - - 2.39%  May-14 -0.21% 6.95% -0.70% 1.45% - -
HG Real Estate Fund 0.95% 7.29% 7.89% 9.64% 5.56% 5.49%  May-06 7.82% 7.92% 8.86% 10.88% 14.19% 9.66%
HG Private Equity Fund 0.70% 19.01% 17.05% 14.45% 13.05% 5.40%  Dec-07 21.11% 21.06% 9.48% 8.38% 14.84% 15.34%
HG Energy Fund -0.82% 10.06% 2.48% 2.77% - 7.66%  Jan-11 18.79% -20.61%  11.05% 2.32% 15.46% 4.82%
 

Data Sources: © 2019 Northern Trust

All performance is shown net of fees except for HG Large Cap Equity Fund, HG Small Cap Equity Fund and HG Developed Markets Equity Fund.

Asset Management Experts

Joe H. Wright Jr.
Joe H. Wright Jr.
Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer
Kellie Morrison, CFA
Kellie Morrison, CFA
Senior Investment Officer
Carol A. Kilman
Carol A. Kilman
Senior Investment Officer
Arturo Gutierrez, CFA, CIPM, CAIA
Arturo Gutierrez, CFA, CIPM, CAIA
Investment Officer
Peter Case, CFA, CIPM
Peter Case, CFA, CIPM
Senior Investment Analyst
Will  Francis, CPL
Will Francis, CPL
Minerals Management Manager
Mark  Carey
Mark Carey
Real Estate Manager