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Cornell hires FAO investment advisor as CIO

Kenneth Miranda’s appointment follows the departure of Albert Edwards at the end of March.

Cornell University has appointed Kenneth Miranda, director of the International Monetary Fund’s investment office, as its new chief investment officer, according to a statement from the Ivy League university.

Miranda, a member of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s advisory committee on investments, will take up the role as head of the Office of University Investments, managing Cornell’s $6 billion investment portfolio, on 1 July. He will report to trustee Donald Opatrny, chair of the investment committee, and Joanne DeStefano, Cornell’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Miranda has been director of the IMF’s investment office since 2000, and has also been a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee since February 2012.

Miranda’s appointment follows the decision of former CIO Albert “AJ” Edwards to step down at the end of March. The university appointed senior investment officers Cody Danks Burke and Roger Vincent as interim co-CIOs, as reported by Private Equity International.

Edwards led the Office of University Investment since May 2012 and served as interim the previous year. He joined the office as a senior investment officer in 2008.

“After eight rewarding years in the investment office, I’ve decided now is the time to pursue other interests,” Edwards told The Cornell Chronicle.

As IMF director, Miranda led a team that oversaw the investment of approximately $11.5 billion in assets for the IMF’s Staff Retirement Plan and Retired Staff Benefits Investment Account, making investments across a wide range of asset classes, themes, strategies and managers, Cornell said.

IMF’s Staff Retirement Plan has $8.05 billion in assets under management and a private equity allocation of 29.32 percent, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

His prior roles include serving as president of the Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union, and as a senior advisor on George Washington University’s committee on investments.

In the statement, Miranda said he expects to globalise the endowment’s return streams.

“In terms of approach, I tend to look at big changes, big themes, to identify market inefficiencies, growth bottlenecks and forced selling pressure that tend to generate the environment for outsized returns,” he said.

“At the same time I’m very focused on managing the risk and the downside protection of the portfolio through quantitative techniques.”

DeStefano said Miranda’s “high-level expertise in long-term investments means he is poised to meet Cornell’s unique needs, goals and risk tolerance”.

Cornell has invested in greenhouse technology and agricultural robotics in the past, and has an agriculture and food systems programme.