From the start
The co-founders of Cambridge Associates (CA) started with what they knew. In 1973, former Harvard roommates James Bailey and Hunter Lewis began researching the endowment fund investments of their alma mater. Today, CA oversees hundreds of billions of dollars in assets for more than 800 institutional and private clients around the world, and its core client base continues to be nonprofits. The firm provides investment consulting, independent research and performance monitoring services, with its traditional consulting services centered on asset allocation and investment policy development, manager search and evaluation, performance measurement and reporting, and capital markets and manager research.
Helping lambs become lions
After their initial success with Harvard, Bailey and Lewis thought other universities might want to strengthen their investments with research from CA too. Twelve universities took them up on the idea, and 30 years later, all 12 are still clients. The firm tries to foster long-term client relationships, as opposed to quick-fix projects. This is reflected in the fact that most new clients come through referrals from existing clients, which the firm touts as evidence of its high satisfaction rates.
CA gradually began to offer its research to other nonprofit institutions, such as foundations, museums and hospitals. Soon, these clients were requesting consulting services beyond just research. In 1982, the firm began taking on private clients, including large institutions that oversee pension, agency and government funds. Since its founding more than three decades ago, CA has worked with clients of a variety of asset sizes, levels of complexity and consulting needs, although the focus remains on nonprofits.
Mission: Very possible
In February 2008, the firm announced its new Mission Investing Group which will help clients develop mission-based investing strategies, such as tobacco-free or clean technology. Some of the clients on the list were the Annie E. Casey Foundation (helping vulnerable children and families), the Meyer Memorial Trust Foundation (focusing on local venture capital, clean technology and buyout funds) and the F.B. Heron Foundation (supporting groups that help business grow in low-income communities). The group will provide clients with lists of key players within their mission, a manager database, annual performance reports concerning the mission, an investing resource guide and strategies for how to best achieve the mission. A mission that the company has set in November 2009 was its plan to help institutional investors increase their ability to assess risk profiles of hedge portfolios. In that same month, the company was included in Boston Globe magazineâ€™s 2009 list of 100 Top Places to Work for, ranked at No. 63.
Sticking through the years
While CA has gone a long way since its inception in 1973; its original 12 clients still use the companyâ€™s extensive research and peer data. Around the globe, it continues to serve some 800 clients in its seven offices in Arlington, Va.; Boston, Mass.; Dallas, Texas; London, England; Menlo Park, Calif.; Singapore; and Sydney, Australia. The companyâ€™s clients include private and family offices, which the company considers as its fastest growing business segment, constituting to 20 percent of the companyâ€™s client base.
100 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110-2112
Phone: (617) 457-7500
Employer Type: Private
President & CEO: Sandra A. Urie
2008 Employees (All Locations): 900