Bloomberg’s Willett Advisors Adds Former Member of Northwestern University’s Investment Office

By David G. Barry

Willett Advisors LLC, which manages the philanthropic assets of Michael R. Bloomberg, has brought aboard a longtime member of Northwestern University’s Investment Office.

Neil Shah joined Willett as a managing director. Neither he nor Brad Briner, Willett’s co-chief investment officer, immediately returned messages from Markets Group. Briner and Andrew Mulderry became co-CIOs of Willett in 2017 after Alice Ruth left to oversee Dartmouth College’s investment office.

Shah spent nearly 11 years at Northwestern, joining after completing his MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

At Northwestern, Shaw – like Harisha Koneru Haigh – held the title of managing director, private investments and real assets.

Amy Falls, who became vice president and CIO of Northwestern in February 2021, did not immediately return an inquiry from Markets Group on whether Haigh would be the lone person overseeing private investments and real assets or if the university planned to promote or bring someone aboard.
Shah left Northwestern over the summer but is still listed on the website of Northwestern’s investment office.

As of August 31, 2021, private investments and real assets accounted for nearly half of Northwestern’s $14.9 billion endowment. Private investments, which includes buyouts and venture capital, had an actual allocation of 35.9%, well above its 27% target. It is Northwestern’s largest segment, both in terms of actual and target. Real assets were at 12.8%, underweight to its 14% target. The segment consists of investments in energy, timber, real estate, and commodity funds.

Northwestern has not yet released data on its fiscal 2021-22 year.