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2nd Quarter 2022 CIO Commentary

The times are getting tougher

Pretty much the whole world has been wrong about how high inflation would go – including us. As investors’ views have changed, they have sold fixed income securities, pushing prices down and driving the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate to its worst quarter in 40 years at -5.93% in Q1 2022, followed by -4.69% in Q2. This -10.35% year-to-date loss is the worst first half of the year ever for the index. Results this poor don’t tend to occur when investors anticipate and are properly positioned for what lies ahead.

We believe the single most important investment question today is whether the Fed will – or won’t – get ahead of inflation. Typically, the Fed must balance the dual mandate of full employment and low inflation. Because inflation has been low for most of the past 40 years, the Fed has historically been able to respond quickly to economic or market events by easing rates. With inflation today above 8.5%, that calculus has changed: We expect that until inflation comes under control, the Fed will be talking tough and raising short rates, even if stock and bond prices are falling and even if the economy appears to be slowing. Until the Fed proves their mettle in taming inflation, they have lost the option of easing rates. We believe that only once the Fed has shown they can get inflation under control will they regain the ability to provide liquidity when markets require. This suggests a more difficult and volatile market backdrop in the short term, with the end of this term dictated by the path of inflation.

This is an excerpt from a longer commentary. Please Download the PDF to read the entire 2Q2022 CIO Commentary.

TIFF’s 2021 Sustainability Report

TIFF’s 2021 Sustainability Report shares the way in which we capture ESG and DEI into our investment process and firm culture.  2021 was a year of transformational change: DEI retained the prominence gained in 2020 as managers and employers refined how they measure and evaluate DEI best practices.  Environmental considerations returned in the form of Net Zero pledges, as institutions and providers committed to no-carbon portfolios, typically by 2050. In many ways, the ambitions of investors has outpaced the ability of the market to meet the nature and scope of current demand. Keys to success are a strong framework,  common assumptions around goals and definitions, and a willingness to be flexible and accountable as the landscape evolves. At TIFF, sustainability is a core value. Our commitment is expressed through our investment process and principles, with responsibility for progress held throughout the firm. Our 2021 report card shows real advances from 2020, but we know we have room to improve. Read the report to see how we partner with members and managers in our continuous improvement approach.

TIFF Perspective on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

View of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

At TIFF, we are hopeful for a near-term peaceful resolution of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We are mindful of the dire humanitarian consequences on Ukraine and its people.

There are many significant moving pieces in this conflict – the actions of Putin and Russia, the heroic response of Zelensky and the Ukrainian people, the coordinated and unified response of Europe generally, the United States’ evolving role, the response from China, and, alarmingly, the first genuine threat of nuclear engagement in this century. Although the number of actors and complexity of this event contribute to a wide range of possible outcomes, we think a few implications are more likely than not. Below, we provide our assessment of market impact, our portfolio positioning, and our actions in response to the market conditions created by the invasion and subsequent developments.

Market Impact

Market reaction has been global and across asset classes. Equities generally have fallen, particularly in Europe as the prospect of a protracted conflict, higher energy prices, and possible recession weighs on stocks. Bonds have rallied, causing yields to drop. Oil has hit decade-high prices as buyers shun Russia, which is second globally behind Saudi Arabia in production. Gold and bitcoin have also rallied, albeit less so.

Market Expectations

Our internal optimist has us seeking a clear “best-case” scenario, but our internal realist sees few positive near-term repercussions.

Inflation has and will be negatively impacted, as, similar to our experience with COVID, supply chains are reworked and there is added demand for certain goods without commensurate increases in production. If all else were equal, this rise in inflation may force the Federal Reserve and other central banks to be even more hawkish than they have become in recent weeks.  However, all else is not equal.  Because of the wide range of outcomes, the market now perceives a bit slower retraction of accommodation as banks proceed cautiously and also are careful to forestall a “Lehman-like” moment.

Longer-term is even less predictable, though some developments seem likely. The European Union and individual European countries have indicated that they will vastly increase defense spending. Europe may also reduce its vulnerability to Russia by accelerating its transition to green energy and / or allowing oil production. The US may also allow for increased oil production to offset a sustained reduction of Russian oil imports. Two other possible secondary effects of economic sanctions: 1) intentional decoupling of connected economies to reduce interdependence; and 2) revisiting crypto as a possible workaround for sanctions and asset freezes. We do expect the reversal of some recent market trends. For example, if the US and / or Europe are able to wean themselves off Russian oil through production or alternate supply, the war may counterintuitively expedite oil’s ultimate decline.  Similarly, while near-term we see inflation increasing, dramatic expansion and duplication of capacity in energy, alternatives, food, etc., may ultimately lead to lower long-term inflation.

TIFF Exposure

Our direct exposure to Russia is de minimis, with approximately 0.5% of any given portfolio as of February 28.


We are monitoring the situation closely, staying in close contact with our managers, and avoiding making large, reactive moves.  We remain underweight bonds and have rebalanced back to slightly above our target for equities. We have explored and are considering inflation hedges, but are mindful of how expensive hedges have become in recent weeks. Our portfolios are well diversified, and we are prepared to adapt quickly as needed.



Past performance is no guarantee of future results and the opinions presented cannot be viewed as an indicator of future performance.

There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of strategies will meet your investment objectives.

These materials are being provided for informational purposes only and constitute neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy securities. Opinions expressed herein are those of TIFF and are not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities.

These materials may contain forward-looking statements relating to future events. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” or “continue,” the negative of such terms or other comparable terminology. Although TIFF believes the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, future results cannot be guaranteed.

TIFF 2022 Fundraising Symposium: Unlocking the Mystery of Donor Retention

On February 9, 2022, TIFF Investment Management hosted the first of four sessions in our Fundraising Symposium. Each session will have its own theme and set of presenters, but the purpose of all is the same: To help nonprofits leverage fundraising best practices efficiently and effectively in a post-pandemic landscape.

“Unlocking The Mystery of Donor Retention” was hosted by Dr. Robert T. Grimm, Jr., the Levenson Family Chair in Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership in the School of Public Policy and Founding Director of the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland. Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE, Founder and Principal of Windmill Hill Consulting, led an interactive presentation on what drives donor giving, how to measure donor retention and how to retain and convert donors.

TIFF Members can access the recording of the session and presentation materials through the Member portal. A high-level summary of this exciting event can be found by clicking the link above.

We hope you will be able to join us on March 16, 2022, at 12 pm EST when Dr. Grimm and Ebonie Johnson Cooper will present “Diversify Your Donor Base.”

If you have any questions, feedback, or would like to receive an invitation to the remaining sessions in our 2022 Fundraising Symposium, please send an email with your name, affiliation, and title to

TIFF Investment Management Further Strengthens Member Strategy Group with Elizabeth Smolenski Warren Appointed as Director

TIFF CEO Kane Brenan continues focus on delivering investment excellence by bolstering talent across nonprofit investment and advisory disciplines

Radnor, PA—February 1, 2022—Mission driven OCIO, TIFF Investment Management (“TIFF”), today announced that it has hired Elizabeth Smolenski Warren as a Director of the Member Strategy Group. Based in TIFF’s Boston office, Ms. Warren is responsible for leading current and prospective client relationships and working alongside investment teams to provide a holistic approach to investment strategy driven by client-specific goals and needs.

Ms. Warren joins from Mercer’s nonprofit practice, where she advised on more than $6 billion in assets. Prior to her tenure at Mercer, Ms. Warren spent 10 years at Cambridge Associates, serving nonprofits, pensions, and high net worth families, primarily by constructing hedge fund programs. Previously, she worked in mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

“TIFF is renowned for its ability to deliver superior investment results and for its attunement to the needs of its members. I’m excited to be part of an organization that is skilled at helping nonprofits meet their investment objectives even as it recognizes and supports the other institutional factors that help them fulfill their missions,” said Ms. Warren. “I look forward to using my investment expertise and client experience to contribute to member success.”

“Elizabeth truly understands the unique investment and institutional considerations that nonprofit organizations face and is skilled at facilitating long-term solutions to help them meet their goals,” said Jessica Portis, Head of Member Strategy and Development at TIFF. “Her knowledge around enterprise risk, governance, portfolio construction, ESG, and alternatives will be incredibly additive to our member relationships. We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth.”

“TIFF is dedicated to providing investment excellence through true partnership with our members,” said Kane Brenan, CEO of TIFF. “Elizabeth’s extensive advisory and investment background, coupled with her unerring commitment to service, represent the values that underpin TIFF’s 30-year legacy.  We believe that clients require custom advice and Elizabeth adds exceptional additional capabilities to our already deep client-facing team.”

Ms. Warren earned a Bachelor’s degree in Classics and East Asian History from Brown University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.