Harvard, Penn Endowments Return 6.5% Each, Duke Returns 6.9%

Endowments facing ‘economic headwinds’ in 2019.

The investment portfolios for the endowments of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, returned 6.5% each, while Duke University  returned 6.9% for the fiscal year ended June 30.  The results represent a somewhat subdued year for university endowments.

In a message to the Harvard community from Harvard Management Co. CEO Narv Narvekar, the endowment said returns  raised the value of the endowment to $40.9 billion, which is up from $39.2 billion at the end of last year.

“We are now halfway through our five-year transition of both the structure of HMC and the University’s investment portfolio,” Narvekar wrote. “I am encouraged by the progress our team has made to date, but we are mindful that there is much left to accomplish in the years ahead to resolve legacy issues and position the endowment for long-term success.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s endowment’s returns raised total asset value by $873 million to $14.7 billion, up from $13.8 billion at the end of fiscal year 2018. Although the returns were down significantly from last year, the endowment still managed to meet its benchmark.

Meanwhile, Duke University’s returns raised the endowment’s total asset value to a record $8.6 billion, up from $8.5 billion a year ago.

However, Jack Bovender, chair of Duke’s board of trustees, said in an interview, the endowment could be performing better.

 “Are we satisfied at $8.6 billion? The answer is no. We need to grow it,” said Bovender. “I think that it reflects what’s going on in the economy over the last two or three years.”

Related stories:

Harvard ‘Not Pleased’ with 2018 Performance

Yale, Brown, Duke, Michigan State Earn Double-Digit Returns

Ivy League Endowments Lag 60-40 Portfolio






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