Yale Endowment Gains 0.8%, Duke, Cornell Post Small Losses in 2022

Yale CIO sees ‘challenging times ahead’ due to rising interest rates, inflation, and geopolitics.

The investment portfolios for Yale University, Duke University, and Cornell University’s endowments managed to perform relatively well for fiscal year 2022, despite global markets being roiled by rampant inflation, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and war.

Yale’s investment portfolio managed to eek out a 0.8% return, net of fees, for the year ending June 30, which translated to a $266 million investment gain. However, after spending $1.6 billion in distributions to the university’s operating budget, the endowment’s asset value decreased to $41.4 billion from $42.3 billion a year earlier. 

“In such a volatile year for the world’s financial markets, we are pleased to have protected Yale’s capital,” Matt Mendelsohn, Yale’s chief investment officer, said in a statement. “That said, we expect challenging times ahead as rising interest rates, inflation, and the geopolitical environment provide stiff headwinds.”

Over the 10 years ending June 30, Yale’s endowment returned 12.0% per year, which the university said outperformed the mean 10-year return for college and university endowments by an estimated 3.4% annually. It also said its portfolio returned 11.3% over the 20 years ending June 30 and surpassed the mean return for that time period for college and university endowments by an estimated 3.5% a year.

Meanwhile, Duke’s endowment reported an investment loss of 1.5% for the year ending June 30, compared with a 55.9% return last year, and a real rate of return target of at least 5.0% net of fees. The loss lowered the portfolio’s asset value to $12.1 billion from $12.7 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021.

Duke endowment’s benchmark is a composite comprised 70% of the MSCI All Country World Index, which represents the broad global equity market, and 30% of the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Index, which represents the domestic bond market. DUMAC, Inc., formerly Duke Management Company, said the MSCI All Country World Index and the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index lost 15.8% and 10.3%, respectively, for the fiscal year ended June 30.

And Cornell’s endowment reported an investment loss of 1.3% for the year ended June 30, which was well off last year’s 41.9% return, but easily beating its strategic benchmark’s 5.1% loss. The endowment’s asset value closed the fiscal year worth $9.8 billion, according to Cornell’s Office of University Investments.

“We ended the year with a very respectable return relative to the environment,” Cornell CIO Kenneth Miranda said in a statement. “We position the portfolio for the long term to weather positive and negative years. Fundamental to our investment philosophy is an understanding that over our near-infinite time horizon, the endowment will confront all manner of expected and unexpected market conditions.”


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