Harvard's Endowment Rebounds With Non-U.S. ETFs

International-oriented ETFs helped boost the value of the university's US securities at the end of last year.

(February 17, 2010) – While Harvard’s $26 billion endowment, along with others at universities across the country, suffered major losses in 2009, the value of Harvard’s US securities jumped 26% in Q4 of last year, according to recent data from the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The return came from investments made in ETFs that track international markets. Harvard’s biggest security purchases in the fourth quarter were ETFs tracking markets including China, Brazil and Russia, while emerging markets gained 8.3% in the three months ended December 31, Bloomberg reported.


The Boston-based Harvard Management Company, which oversees the school’s fund, has increased its holdings in US-traded shares to $2.26 billion from $1.79 billion.


To reduce its exposure to property investments, the university is looking to sell a portion of its $5 billion real estate portfolio, which includes $2 billion in property holdings and $3 billion in future capital commitments, the Wall Street Journal reported. While the university’s endowment suffered a 27% loss last year, dropping 30% to $26 billion, its real estate portfolio lost about 50% of its value for the fiscal year ended in June 2009.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href='mailto:pvasan@assetinternational.com'>pvasan@assetinternational.com</a>; 646-308-2742