Texas A&M Foundation Taps Michael Pia for CIO

The former Texas TRS managing director will oversee the roughly $1.9 billion university endowment.

CIO Michael Pia. Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Foundation.

The Texas A&M Foundation has picked a former Texas TRS managing director as its next investment chief. 

Michael Pia, who oversaw strategic partnerships and research at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), started managing the university foundation’s investment staff this month, according to a release

“I am inspired by its work to build a brighter future for Texas A&M University so that Aggieland can continue to develop future leaders for Texas and our nation,” Pia said in a statement. 

The new investment chief on campus is taking over the $1.9 billion investment portfolio just as university endowments across the nation are dealing with a coronavirus-induced downturn that’s constraining gains and budgets.

Texas A&M Foundation returned just 5.5% last year, falling behind its own average annual performance of 7.2% for the past 15 years, according to its fiscal year 2019 report.

At TRS, Pia had led a nine-person investment team since 2015 that managed $15 billion in assets. He also worked for a time as chief of staff to the TRS CIO.

“Under Pia’s leadership of the investment team, we will continue to ensure that endowed donors’ gifts through the Texas A&M Foundation will be professionally invested for the benefit of Texas A&M’s students, faculty and staff for the coming decades,” said Tyson Voelkel, the foundation’s president. 

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