Besting Peers, Penn Endowment Outperforms


With a neutral last 12 months, the Penn endowment has done what others couldn’t—it has maintained its capital base.


(November 12, 2009) – Besting many of its peers, the University of Pennsylvania endowment has maintained its capital base for the past year.


According to a report for the endowment’s Board of Trustees, the $5.6 billion fund has had 0% returns since November 2008—well above the negative losses seen at more prominent Ivy League endowments. While the fund was down 15.6% in the fiscal year ending in July, this is still well above the 25% losses seen at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale—and, since then, has recouped even these losses.


“It’s hard to believe it’s flat from 12 months ago,” Trustee David Silfen is quoted as saying at the fund’s board meeting, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I’m also happy to report that the endowment has not experienced—unlike several peer institutions—any liquidity issues, and we have sufficient cash on hand to meet any capital calls and endowment payout well into the foreseeable future.”


The minimized losses are a result of a 10% reduction in public equities in early 2008, according to CIO Kristin Gilbertson. The lack of any liquidity crisis is the result of a 15% cash and Treasurys allocation, she added. The fund also attributes its lack of endowment-dependence for minimal layoffs.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Kristopher McDaniel at <a href=''></a>