Investment Advisor Fayez Sarofim Dies at 93

By David G. Barry

Investment adviser Fayez Sarofim, who for many years managed the endowment of Rice University, has died. He was 93.

Sarofim founded Houston-based Fayez Sarofim & Co. with $100,000 in 1958 after earning degrees from the University of California and Harvard Business School. Known as the “The Sphinx,” the Egyptian native was known for investing in so-called blue-chip stocks. The investment firm today manages more than $30 billion and is led by his son, Christopher Sarofim.

Rice University was one of Sarofim’s first clients. When he first began managing it in the early 1960s, it had $63 million under management. As of June 30, 2021, the Rice endowment had $8.1 billion in assets. It is now managed by Rice Management Company, an in-house team led by President and Chief Investment Officer Allison K. Thacker.

In a prepared statement, Rice President David Leebron called Sarofim “a remarkable force in Houston, an important figure in the management of our endowment and a bold leader for the expansion of the arts at Rice.” He added that Houston and Rice “have lost a great leader who made both immeasurably better, and his impact will never be forgotten on our campus.”

Melissa Kean, who recently retired as Rice’s Centennial Historian, added in a statement that Sarofim managed the Rice endowment “brilliantly.” She said that he “is one of the most important and least known figures in Rice’s financial history.”