Harvard endowment hires new chief risk officer from Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley

The Harvard University’s endowment managers have hired a new chief risk officer for the $30.7 billion fund, tapping Jake Xia from Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley.

Xia will take a lead role in helping set policies and procedures to analyze and monitor risks in the nation’s largest endowment fund, according to Harvard Management Co., the Boston firm that manages the money. The goal of the job is to “optimize the risk and return of the overall Harvard endowment,” HMC said Wednesday morning.

Xia succeeds Neil Mason, who will return to England for family reasons after July 1, Harvard Management said. Mason joined the group in March 2010, one of endowment chief Jane Mendillo’s hires in the wake of the financial crisis. The fund lost 27 percent of its value in 2009.

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Xia, 48, holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in electronic physics from Beijing University.

He worked at Morgan Stanley for 17 years. In his last two years at the company, he served as head of Global Structured Rates Trading in New York and managed trading groups across the globe. He previously oversaw trading risks in all fixed income products, including interest rates, foreign exchange, emerging markets, credit, and real estate securities.

“We are excited to bring Jake Xia’s expertise to our management team and we look forward to his guidance and leadership as chief risk officer,” Mendillo said in a statement. “Jake’s extensive experience in risk management and complex trading across many asset classes and international geographies will be central to HMC’s continued success in balancing return and risk in our complex and globally diverse portfolio.”