Princeton University partners with state to help colleges and universities invest with financial firms run by diverse asset managers

Princeton University has partnered with the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority to expand opportunities for colleges and universities in the state to invest with more asset managers who are people of color, women, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ community. The partnership is part of the university’s supplier diversity initiative.

Princeton University borrowed about $430 million through the state’s Educational Facilities Authority in the spring to finance the major construction projects, including campus construction for facilities related to the expansion of the undergraduate student body.

Officials at Princeton said they worked with the state authority to ensure a portion of the bond proceeds were invested and managed by a diverse-owned asset management firm. Ramirez Asset Management of New York was selected to manage a substantial share of the bond proceeds.

Tim Graf, associate vice president for treasury services at Princeton, said the move was a major milestone for Princeton and the Educational Facilities Authority. “It is our hope that this model will encourage other universities to similarly think creatively, expanding existing relationships with minority, women, or veteran-owned firms,” he said.

University officials are working to diversify who the university does business with as part of the school’s commitment to addressing systemic racism, said Jim Matteo, the university’s treasurer and vice president for finance. “The University is committed to forging financial partnerships that will not only have positive impacts on growing and preserving our financial resources, but also help build wealth in diverse and under-represented communities,” he said.

The Educational Facilities Authority is New Jersey’s primary issuer of municipal bonds to finance the development of campus facilities at public and private colleges and universities. The financial printer and the verification agent used by the authority for the university bonds were also diverse-owned firms. The 25 underwriting firms for the bonds included 13 minority, women, veteran, or service-disabled veteran-owned firms.

“The Authority has been using more minority, women, and veteran-owned firms in its transactions than ever before,” said Steve Nelson, director of project management at The Educational Facilities Authority.