University of Michigan Discloses CIO Pay Details for First Time

(Bloomberg) -- The University of Michigan’s chief investment officer was recently rewarded with a salary increase and a higher target bonus to ensure that he was being paid on par with peers, the school said as it revealed for the first time how it determined his compensation.

Erik Lundberg, manager of the $11 billion endowment, receives a salary of $720,000 and target bonus of 150 percent of base pay, the school said Tuesday. He previously got $690,000 a year and had a target of 130 percent. He was compensated more than $2 million in 2016.

The university disclosed the pay practices after the Detroit Free Press sued to gain access to the records. A state judge ruled that the school had improperly withheld the information. Bloomberg News also filed a freedom of information request for the data.

Half of Lundberg’s remuneration is computed using a three-year average of the endowment’s performance and how it stacks up against more than 100 peer schools, according to a copy of the Investment Office Incentive Plan dated May 2017 obtained by Bloomberg.

“Despite the court’s ruling, we believe disclosure of the U-M Investment Office Incentive Plan will put U-M at a competitive disadvantage,” Rick Fitzgerald, a spokesman for the Ann Arbor-based school, said in an email. “Because there are very few public universities in our endowment peer group, virtually no comparison schools will ever have to make their plans public. These are the employers against which the university competes for talent recruitment and retention.”

14% Return

Investment managers at the largest college endowments often earn millions of dollars each year, sometimes making more than the university president. Pay at nonprofit institutions has also attracted interest from Congress, which last year slapped an excise tax on annual compensation over $1 million. The tax will affect not only investment managers, but coaches at some schools.

Lundberg has worked at the endowment since 1999. Michigan, the third wealthiest public school, has previously disclosed the total amount he was paid. But it has withheld the incentives or other metrics that have been used to determine his compensation.

Michigan’s endowment posted a 13.8 percent investment gain for the year ended June 2017, aided by a bull market in public equities. The average return for about 450 endowments and foundations was 12.7 percent, according to data collected by Cambridge Associates.

Mercer Review

Lundberg’s base pay was increased after a review by consultant Mercer found it was below the $750,000 average of the market median, according to Fitzgerald.
“It is now at $720,000, and his target incentive opportunity has increased from 130 percent of his base salary, to 150 percent,” Fitzgerald said. “Others in the office have also seen increases in their target incentive opportunity.”

Lundberg’s incentive is paid out over a three-year period to help with retention. He receives 50 percent of his incentive immediately, 25 percent one year later and 25 percent two years later, Fitzgerald said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.