Amy Falls ’82 Leaves Position As Andover CIO

With the anticipation of new challenges ahead of her, Amy Falls ’82, Phillips Academy’s Chief Investment Officer(CIO), will be leaving Andover this coming March to become the CIO of Rockefeller University in New York City. Falls learned of the position after being approached by various Rockefeller University board members who were impressed with her work at Andover. Falls decided to accept the university’s offer because she believes in the importance in continuing to challenge herself. Falls said, “[Rockefeller University has] a slightly larger endowment with slightly different challenges, but it’s a similar concept,” she said. “As painful as it is to leave Andover, and it really has been painful, I think that you want to always be a little outside your comfort zone and constantly [be] pushing yourself to grow,” said Falls. Michael Reist, Director of Investments, will serve as the interim CIO while a committee continues a search for Falls’ permanent replacement. “He has been absolutely my rod and staff. He is a tremendous resource, and I have tons of confidence in him. We’ve worked really closely on everything, and he’s been an integral part of the office,” she continued. Falls said that she is a beneficiary of Andover’s mission, but also looks forward to working under a new ideology. “I think Rockefeller University also has a mission that is very critical in the sense that I really believe the science they are doing at Rockefeller will change people’s lives,” she said. Rockefeller University exclusively focuses on undergraduate and graduate level biomedical education and research. “Whether it’s cancer research or Autism or Alzheimer’s, [the university] is really doing cutting-edge, breakthrough biomedical research that I think will make an enormous impact on the next generation of humanity,” she continued. Falls came to Andover after focusing on emerging markets for JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Before becoming Andover’s first CIO, Falls had worked on the school’s investment committee as a volunteer for five years. Falls said that she returned to Phillips Academy after working on Wall Street because she wanted to “give back to the organization that had meant the most to [her], which was, without a question, Andover.” “[All of my volunteer work] was motivated by gratitude for the education I got and the incredible impact that Andover had on my life,” Falls continued. “I just love the academy.” During her time at Andover, Falls helped establish the school’s New York-based investment office. “We have such an incredible amount of intellectual capital at Andover, in the students, the alumni, the teachers [and] the administration. It was incredible to create an investment effort that could capitalize on all of these great minds,” she added. Falls explained that one of the goals of the office was to tap into the Andover community, whether by setting up conferences reaching out to alumni or working with faculty “to really try to use all the different intellectual resources that Andover has and harness that into thinking about the investment program.” As CIO, Falls worked closely with Stephen Carter, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Elliot Hacker, Director of Finance and Assistant Treasurer, and the school’s investment committee, chaired by charter trustee Thomas Israel ’62. According to Falls, the role of the CIO and the investment committee is to “set the big picture in terms of how [the school] wants the endowment to be invested… to go out to find the best partners to execute on those objectives and to monitor all the existing investments to make sure that they’re performing the way [they] want them to.” “That [teamwork] served us well in the financial crisis in 2008 because we were so well-coordinated that we were able to navigate through the choppy waters relatively well, without having the kind of liquidity problems that some institutions faced,” Falls said. “The mutual respect across the institution was a great factor in our relatively successful effort.” Though working during the financial crisis was very stressful, Falls said that “the sense of trust and teamwork [in the financial office] made a huge difference and allowed [Andover] to have the conviction to put money back into the stock market in January and February so that when the markets started to rally in March, [the school] had more dollars at work.” As CIO, Falls also enjoyed reaching out to alumni and students in order to gather their opinions about the investment landscape of the future. Falls guest-taught in some of Carroll Perry’s, Instructor in History and Social Science, economics classes, though she noted she herself had not taken economics while at Andover. Falls said that she didn’t realize her interest in the field until her graduate school years. Falls said that she will miss the people at Andover “It was fun to teach, it was fun to be at trustee meetings [and] it was fun to meet alumni because they’re just really high-caliber people,” she said.