How cool is your school?

An analysis of "Public Ivy" schools endowment fund returns reveals who really gets top grades.

The stock market did pretty well in this period, with the S&P 500 up 5.4% between July 2011 and June 2012. Domestic bonds did even better, such that a plain-vanilla 60/40 stock/bond portfolio would have returned about 6.2%.  But the average large (over $1 billion) endowment earned 1.2% in 2012, per NACUBO. As we shall see, a big allocation to alternative assets didn’t pay off for most of these investors in FY2012.

Twelve largest public university endowments Investment return ranking – One year returns FY 2012:


The clear winner is University of Virginia, with a very good 5.1% return.  This is especially impressive when we note that five of our twelve state schools had negative returns, including the giant University of California system, with a dismal -1.10%.  After all, as the media keep telling us, we are now enjoying an economic recovery.

This should be gratifying for Lawrence E. Kochard who took over as head of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO) in the middle of FY 2011, and reflects well on the UVIMCO board who hired him away from Georgetown University.  FY 2012 performance can properly be credited to Kochard but, as we shall see below, the UVIMCO team also did well under his predecessor, Christopher Brightman.

Harkening back to our original Private Ivy rankings for 2012, we also see that UV’s performance beat all but three of the privates.  UV topped Harvard, Yale and Princeton, and was surpassed only by MIT (8.0%), Chicago (6.8%), and Dartmouth (5.8%).

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