Commonfund Reviews | Glassdoor

Commonfund Reviews

Updated July 7, 2017
25 reviews

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3.3
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Catherine M. Keating
6 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    "Director"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Wilton, CT
    Current Employee - Director in Wilton, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Commonfund full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    mission based, best clients, great culture, location, ease of commute

    Cons

    small size, limited advancement, change in focus/priorities


  2. "Changing tides"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Wilton, CT
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Wilton, CT
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Commonfund full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    * Tight knit group
    * Great family friendly culture

    Cons

    * Very little opportunity for advancement given the flat organization.
    * No ownership of investment performance issues / problems.
    * New CEO has changed the vibe so that many of the original team has now left.

    Advice to Management

    Change is good, but only in small steps. The new management team is trying too hard to make the organization a hardcore New York City hedge fund, and has made big changes in order to do so. As a result, much of the team that made Commonfund unique has left the firm.

  3. "Commonfund"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wilton, CT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wilton, CT

    I worked at Commonfund full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Wilton location great for working parents.

    Cons

    Too many changes in leadership over past two years along with plans to relocate headquarters to NYC creates uncertainty and instability amongst staff.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "A firm in transition"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director in Wilton, CT
    Former Employee - Director in Wilton, CT
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Commonfund full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The firm's singular focus on not-for-profit clients has historically attracted people that identify with the mission; there are a lot of genuinely nice people at the firm. And it's rewarding to know that if you produce good results, the clients you work for will continue to be able to fund and advance their important causes.

    Management fosters internal moves - several members of the Operating Committee and asset class heads were promoted from within. I too was a beneficiary of this.

    After some turmoil and destabilizing turnover in the CIO position post-crisis, the firm now has a highly credible and competent CIO in Mark Anson, and he has empowered capable and smart investment lieutenants.

    Commonfund does excellent quantitative research and analysis, and, to his credit, Anson has elevated the prominence of empirical analysis in the investment process.

    Cons

    The general perception is senior management is out of touch with the day-to-day realities "on the ground" - morale is poor and with a lot of recent change, uncertainty runs high.

    Opaque decision-making - information is closely held and not transparently communicated. Only a selected few people are privy to information, which results in non-productive speculation. This is changing with the collapsing of asset class silos and better investment team leadership, but it's still a challenge.

    Systems are antiquated. While management is focused on reducing complexity and investing in technology and resources, too much work relies on manual processes and spreadsheet-based models. Also, the firm continues to grapple with the scale vs customization issue - better systems and processes will help.

    Management is reactive. There is not demonstrable foresight in planning/anticipating future needs - this results in insufficient resources and processes to handle growth or higher-intensity work like the restructuring undertaken in 2016. Quite often it felt like we were just treading water and hoping that nothing fell through the cracks. Also, management is often late in recognizing and rewarding top performers.

    For non-Fairfield County residents, Wilton is a pretty remote town and not easily accessible. While Commonfund is shortly opening a NYC outpost, for the foreseeable future, the headquarters and most staff will remain in Wilton.

    Advice to Management

    Sincerely solicit feedback and buy-in from employees. Rather than dictating at all-staff meetings what management views the firm's mission to be and what its strategic initiatives are, engage staff in advance.

    Be transparent in decision-making. Open up the investment committee and other meetings to all staff or a wider audience so people in "support" functions (and indeed front-office functions) have a sense for where their work fits within the larger organization and how it impacts client results.

    There are too many insular MD-only meetings and information sharing is poor - creating arbitrary lines of demarcation based on title (rather than competence/potential) sends the wrong message to staff about what the firm values.

    It is unclear how management views Commonfund's founding mission to aid smaller institutions and to foster best practices. While the firm needed more of a commercial mentality, which current CEO Catherine has brought, it would be behoove management to not lose sight of what made Commonfund special.


  5. "An organization committed to meaningful work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Commonfund full-time

    Pros

    Commonfund has a unique position within the financial services industry serving nonprofits. it's mission differentiates it from almost any other firm. The Wilton location is wonderful for anyone contemplating raising a family and the impending NYC office should appeal to those seeking a city environment. It has broad access to some of the brightest investment minds in the business through its manager relationships.

    Cons

    There has been a lot of recent change at Commonfund but that can be necessary in organizations that have been stable for a long time. With new leadership and new ideas, change is inevitable. More change may well be needed. The ratio of senior to junior employees has also historically been high. Ongoing infrastructure investment is an important focus.


  6. "Transition to Success"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Wilton, CT
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Wilton, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Commonfund part-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Commonfund is transitioning to a new investment model and a focus on asset growth, which should reverse recent asset stagnation and allow management to hire, retain and grow key staff; firm has a great history as a nonprofit investment firm serving nonprofits, competitive long term investment performance and providing thought leadership for people working in financial jobs in the field.

    Cons

    Like any company undergoing major changes there is uncertainty among staff about their future and the future of the firm in an increasingly competitive environment.

    Advice to Management

    Need to rebuild firm reputation and confidence in the future success and stability of the company to retain clients and staff and attract new business. Articulate and regular communication with staff and clients will be vital to growth and rebuilding reputation.


  7. "Friendly and collaborative"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wilton, CT
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wilton, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I've worked here for over 16 years and I have enjoyed growing along with the company. We have a friendly, collaborative group of employees that believe in our mission.

    Cons

    The commute is over 45 minutes one-way.

  8. "A different kind of investment firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Commonfund full-time

    Pros

    A nonprofit focused on nonprofit investors-endowments and foundations. Great clients, inspiring missions, smart experienced employees. Great location if you live in Fairfield county.

    Cons

    No asset growth growth for eight years. Complete turnover at the top level of the firm. Revenues trending down which limits comp and ability to invest in critical systems and other growth initiatives. Fund of funds model under significant pressure.

    Advice to Management

    Simplify the business model (underway). Invest in some critical technology upgrades. Lead with positivity instead of negativity.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Organizational Change & Lack of Transparency"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Wilton, CT
    Current Employee - Associate in Wilton, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Commonfund (More than a year)

    Pros

    1. Family friendly culture
    2. Easy to connect with other teams if need help

    Cons

    1. Dramatic leadership transition and constant organizational change over the past 1.5 years
    2. Lack of transparency in decision making (compensation, lay-off, promotions, etc.)
    3. Below market compensation for experienced investment professionals
    4. Does not encourage diversity; senior management never welcomes dissenting views or questions from employees
    5. Support teams generally inefficient and difficult to communicate with (marketing, legal, HR, etc.)

    Advice to Management

    1. More transparency; open to suggestions / dissenting views
    2. Focus on efficiency improvement; reduce bureaucracy and unnecessary processes


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Rapidly changing culture and environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Director in Wilton, CT
    Current Employee - Associate Director in Wilton, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Commonfund full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Some departments understand the family/work balance and work with you. Client base is wonderful. Company origins with no profit background make it unique.

    Cons

    A ton of change in leadership the past couple years, unclear direction and goals. Lots of uncertainty all around.

    Advice to Management

    Improve moral, be as transparent with employees and we are with clients.


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