How We Invest

We seek to preserve and grow multigenerational capital by building diversified portfolios of high-quality assets through partnership with premier private and alternative asset managers.


Investment Philosophy

We seek to preserve and grow our clients’ capital over a long time horizon by maintaining a disciplined investment approach.

Our commingled investment vehicle structure ensures alignment with and across our client base while also allowing our investment team to focus on investing a single pool of capital. Investing in alternative assets – sourcing, due diligence, and manager selection – is a core competitive advantage of Makena’s experienced investment team. The investment vehicles we offer are thoughtfully diversified across high-quality alternative assets in order to mitigate risk and preserve and grow capital for the next generation.

We believe the Endowment investment model is a superior long-term investment solution. We implement our investment strategy through well-aligned and discretionary evergreen vehicles that offer clients the benefits of scale and immediate access to alternative and private asset portfolios. We have a single investment process, providing a clear focus towards generating the greatest investment outcomes, while avoiding allocation conflicts and maximizing the alignment of interests with our clients.

To ensure unwavering focus on achieving our investment goal, we have developed six principles which permeate our investment process:

Maintain a Long-Term Focus

Maintaining a long-term focus is key to building high-quality, durable portfolios. Being a long-term investor requires the consistency, patience and discipline to weather short-term market volatility without shifting strategy or portfolio positioning.

Being a long-term investor also allows Makena to build strong partnerships with extraordinary investment managers who demonstrate a sustainable edge in security selection and adding value to their portfolio companies and assets over full market cycles.

Play to Our Strengths

Elite performance in any field requires an understanding of one’s own strengths and vulnerabilities. Our investment philosophy is uncompromisingly bound to this understanding. Makena’s core strength is our manager selection and access. Due to our industry network and reputation as a sought-after investment partner, we have a track record of accessing high-performing, capacity-constrained managers. This access is available through a variety of avenues, including co-investments.

Equally beneficial to our LPs is Makena’s ability to identify and seed the next generation of investment talent, what we refer to as “emerging managers.” By seeding emerging managers, Makena can both negotiate preferential economics and earmark scale capacity in future funds.

We also remind ourselves where we have no edge: market timing. While we actively look for investment themes that are based on market dislocations, these themes must demonstrate sound fundamentals and longer duration potential—far from what we would call “market timing,” which has a short-term connotation.

Understand that Markets are Efficient

Capital markets have become increasingly efficient over time, and we expect this trend to continue, meaning it will be increasingly difficult to generate outperformance.

While we acknowledge this trend, our scale and expertise allows us to identify opportunities and allocate capital to less efficient (and often uncorrelated) investment opportunities, which complement our bottom-up approach in order to outperform.

We firmly believe that extraordinary managers can outperform the market through private investment strategies (private equity, venture capital, private real estate and private natural resources) as well as complex credit, arbitrage and activist investment strategies.

Maintain Balanced Diversification

Diversification is key to successfully managing the inherent risks of managing long-term capital.

To Makena, diversification means thoughtfully allocating to a variety of asset classes, strategies, sectors, and geographies, to build a portfolio that balances both short-term risk (market volatility) and long-term risk (failing to meet our investment goals). Critically, while diversifying our sources of risk, we must not “over-diversify,” which could dilute our returns; we are seeking balanced diversification.

Therefore, given the scarcity of managers that meet our strict investment criteria, we exercise the conviction to concentrate capital with the 180+ extraordinary managers in our portfolio.

Maintain a Value Discipline

A benefit to investing with a long-term focus is the ability to maintain conviction throughout market cycles. This conviction underlies our value discipline: seeking to own high-quality assets at opportunistic valuations given our fundamental, bottom-up analysis. While we acknowledge that we can’t time markets, we do believe that price matters. There are times when markets overreact to market variables, causing asset prices to disconnect from their fundamental value. These periods of overexuberance or overcorrection can be short episodes of market volatility or can sometimes persist longer than expected.

When markets overreact on the upside, we look to our managers to focus on intrinsic value and avoid following market momentum that inevitably corrects and leaves investors to capitulate just at the wrong time. Alternatively, mispricing on the downside and other special situations at the security or asset level create opportunities for us to invest in strong companies, real assets and securities that have strong fundamental characteristics and provide real levers for growth. By positioning the portfolio to be able to take advantage of these opportunities and partnering with managers who can nimbly spot and execute at these times, we are often able to secure great assets at attractive pricing. This is a key component of our ability to create more favorable returns while maintaining comfortable risk levels.

People Matter

Our most important core principle is that people matter; we focus on building a team of the right people and investing with the right people. We seek team members who are collaborative, intellectually curious, humble, ethical and passionate. Most importantly, we seek to build a team of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which we believe leads to the best investment decisions for our LPs.

Our manager selection process is no different; underwriting the quality of the team and each individual who constitutes the team is our most important investment criterion. We believe that when faced with a tough decision, if we have chosen the right people, the right decision will be made on behalf of our LPs and their capital.

Manager Selection & Due Diligence

Our Manager Selection process invariably begins with our extensive network of both General Partners and Limited Partners developed through our collective industry experience.

This network supplies our Investment Team with high-quality deal flow which competing investors do not have; it is our unique network that provides unique investment access. Our long-term orientation and partnership approach distinguish Makena as a sought-after and value-add investor among investment managers.

As our Investment Team progresses towards a formal investment recommendation, our due diligence process escalates. Due diligence at Makena is a cross-functional and ongoing assessment which involves our Investment, Compliance/Legal, Accounting, Tax and IT teams. Findings are aggregated into a formal report which is included in all Investment Committee Memoranda. Importantly, due diligence at Makena is never “complete.” Investment managers, and their vendors, are subject to annual reviews, the findings of which are summarized and presented to the Investment Committee.

Sustainable Investing

At Makena, Sustainable Investing means owning businesses and assets with a long-term objective of improving how humans interact with each other and with the environment. We believe that Sustainable Investing improves the likelihood of delivering superior investment results for our investors.

Makena is committed to leading the conversation on Sustainable Investing. We are a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible (“UN PRI”) Investment and are a member of Ceres, a nonprofit organization committed to Sustainable Investing. Our partnership with each of these leading groups provides a regular forum for Makena to network, discuss and develop thinking around Sustainable Investing with other leading capital owners and investors – collectively controlling over $120 trillion of assets – across the globe.

Looking inward, Makena’s engagement with our investment partners is constantly evolving as a result of our UN PRI and Ceres involvement. ESG factors play an integral role in both the pre-investment diligence process and the ongoing monitoring of every investment partnership. Our ESG factors are tailored to each investment partner to most acutely understand the associated risks. Our investment partners also commit to Makena’s annual ESG reporting where we survey and measure various metrics which are then aggregated and shared with our investors, reinforcing Makena’s commitment and accountability.