Investments to go transparent

More transparency will give the public a peek behind the investment curtain

Advocates for greater transparency at TRU can look forward to more information on the university’s investments in the next few
 years, according to TRU administration. As part
of its five-year sustainability plan, released in
 October 2014, TRU
plans to disclose more 
information on the uni
versity’s stock portfolio.

While no information on TRU’s current investments is publically accessible, TRU vice-president of administration and finance, Matt Milovick, said that lack is not due to any need for secrecy.

“Certainly if someone wants to know what we hold in our investments, we can make that available,” he said.

truholdingsWhile no official timeline has been announced, director of environment and sustainability, Jim Gudjonson, said he hopes to see TRU disclosing its investments within the next two to three years.

“In terms of what other institutions are doing and best practices, we should develop a sustainable policy and we should disclose where we are investing,” he said.

Milovick maintains that there have been no issues that have motivated the move for greater transparency, but added that the university community demands a certain level of transparency that the administration is obligated to provide.

“I think that’s the general feeling of this administration,” he said. “There isn’t a trigger. There’s nothing that says ‘Hey, all of a sudden we need to be more transparent.’ I just feel it’s some thing that as an institution we need to do. Not just on investments but on everything that we do.”

Milovick added that TRU’s investments add about $2.3 million in interest revenue per year to the school’s operating budget.

“At the end of the day we have a fiscal responsibility to balance our budget and the investment returns that we make off our investments have actually helped to support that,” he said.

STARS

According to Gudjonson, investments were included in the sustainability plan to comply with the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a global program meant to help universities measure their own sustainability. TRU received a silver STARS rating in 2011.

Milovick, however, said that STARS does not play into TRU’s move for more transparency.

“A STARS rating simply allows us to measure our progress,” he said “The sustainability initiatives that we’re taking we’re taking because they’re the right things to do for the institution… We can achieve that rating by doing other things.”

The university is currently discussing what the new increased transparency will look like and when it will be implemented. It is unclear when changes may come into effect.

“I think Matt and I are on the same page here because he had input into the plan, but of course it is going to take some time to get everything in order,” Gudjonson said.