Dartmouth Endowment Returns 14.6%, Hits New High

College’s investment portfolio rebounds after losing 1.9% in 2016.

Dartmouth College’s endowment reported a 14.6% return for the fiscal year that ended in June, bringing the fund to an all-time high of $4.96 billion after a nearly 2% decline last year.

The endowment earned $630 million in net investment gains, with gifts and other net transfers adding $77 million.

“We are pleased with these results,” said Alice Ruth, Dartmouth’s CIO, said in a statement. “Dartmouth’s outstanding returns are a direct result of partnerships with world-class managers, which bring breadth and depth to the portfolio in service of Dartmouth’s mission.”  

The endowment’s portfolio rebounded strongly from last year, when investments generated a loss of 1.9% for the fiscal year, and the endowment was valued at $4.5 billion. Over the past five, 10, and 20 years, the endowment has returned 10.6%, 6.4%, and 10.2%, respectively.

The university said that the endowment benefited from the broad rise in public markets, both in the US and internationally. It also said returns were enhanced by strong performance relative to benchmark indices across the portfolio, and that they compare favorably with global markets, a 60/40 portfolio, and Dartmouth’s policy benchmark.

“The endowment’s investment strategy has consistently been focused on generating exceptional long-term risk-adjusted returns,” said Rick Kimball, a trustee, and chair of the board’s investment committee.

The spending distribution from the endowment was $225 million, which is more than 25% of total net operating revenues for fiscal year 2017. During the past decade, the college’s endowment value grew by more than $1 billion from gifts and investment returns, net of spending, while the spending distribution during that period totaled nearly $2 billion. 

During the most recent fiscal year, Dartmouth also hired a new CIO when it named Ruth to replace Pamela Peedin, who had been Dartmouth’s CIO for six years.

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