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

Endowments surpass median, mean returns for colleges and universities.

The investment portfolios for the endowments of Yale, Duke, Brown, and Michigan State universities reported double-digit gains for fiscal year 2018, earning 12.3%, 13.2%, 12.9%, and 11.1%, respectively, and easily beating Cambridge Associates’ preliminary mean and median returns for colleges and universities of 8.5% and 8.3%, respectively.

Yale’s endowment earned a 12.3% investment return (net of all fees) for the year ending June 30, boosting its total value to an all-time high of $29.4 billion from $27.2 billion at the same time last year.

The endowment returned 7.4% and 11.8% per year over the 10- and 20-year periods ending June 30. Domestic equities returned 12.4%, beating its benchmark by 2.2%, while foreign equities returned 14%, outperforming its composite benchmark by 10.6%.  Venture capital and leveraged buyouts returned 16% and 10.2%, respectively, while real estate and natural resources contributed annual returns of 2.7% and 1.7%.

Duke University reported that its endowment’s long-term investment portfolio returned 12.9% for the fiscal year ended June 30, to help raise the fund’s total asset value to a record high of $8.5 billion, up from $7.9 billion at the same time last year. The endowment has nearly doubled since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, when it was valued at $4.4 billion.

“So the economy is obviously doing much, much better,” Jack Bovender, chairman of the board of trustees, said at the board’s most recent meeting, according to Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle. “Stock prices have gone up significantly. The Dow Jones has gone up significantly, and so has our returns.”

Duke’s endowment had three- five- and 10-year annualized returns of 7.4%, 9.2%, and 6.6%, respectively, according to Bloomberg News.

Brown University’s endowment produced a 13.2% return for the fiscal year, surpassing its benchmark of 9.7%, and raising its value to an all-time high of $3.8 billion.

The three-, five-, 10-, and 20-year annualized returns for Brown’s endowment are 8.3%, 9.2%, 5.9%, and 8.3%, respectively.

“We are fortunate both to partner with outstanding investment managers who navigate the markets skillfully and to be guided by an Investment Committee of exceptionally knowledgeable investors,” Brown CIO Jane Dietze said in a release.

And the investment portfolio for Michigan State University’s endowment returned 11.1% for the fiscal year ended June 30 to bring its total asset value up to more than $2.9 billion. The endowment also reported three-, five-, and 10-year annualized returns of 7.2%, 8.4%, and 6.0%, respectively.

“While our public equity and hedge fund portfolios beat their respective benchmarks, performance was driven by strong returns in our private equity and private real estate portfolios,” Michigan State University CIO Philip Zecher said in a release.

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