Latest Endowment Performance Rankings

05 / 01 / 2021
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by Charles Skorina | Comments are closed

Our 2020 endowment performance report features ten-year returns — the latest available.  We consider a ten-year span to be a rigorous and revealing measure of the strength of an institution’s oversight and long-term investment abilities.

However, as always, there are caveats.

Timing

Most endowments close their books for the fiscal year on June 30 then prepare for the auditors.  Soon thereafter, usually in mid to late fall, the schools release preliminary performance results.

These numbers are “official” but Non-Time Matched because private market performance reporting – real estate, private equity, etc. – lags public market results by three to six months, and sometimes longer.

Usually, this does not matter because public and private market investments tend to move pretty much in sync.

However, in spring 2020 with covid on the loose, the June 30th fiscal close missed a big uptick in private market valuations because those numbers were not ready and therefore not reported to the investment offices.  This hit big endowments hard, those with heavy allocations to alternatives.

Costs

Not all returns are equal.

Some schools report their numbers net of all costs including external management fees, internal office costs, and the endowment tax.

However, many endowments when computing their returns subtract external management fees but not office costs or the endowment tax.

Over a ten-year period that makes a difference.

Turnover

Turnover affects performance.  Only about a third of the one hundred CIOs on our list have held the top investment position for ten years or more and they tend to have the best performance

For example, in our chart below, ten of our top fifteen endowments by 10-year performance had investment heads with ten years or more in tenure.

 

CEO/CIO Endowment Tenure

as of June 30, 2020

Source: Charles Skorina & Company

http://www.charlesskorina.com

10-yr rtn Rank

Institution

CEO/CIO

Start date

Years as CIO/CEO

10-year Rtn

AUM Billion

1

Bowdoin College

Volent, Paula J.

Jul2000

20

11.6

1.80

2

MIT

Alexander, Seth

Jun2006

15

11.4

18.40

3

Yale U

Swensen, David W.*

Apr1985

35

10.9

31.20

4

Princeton U

Golden, Andrew K.

Jan1995

25

10.6

26.60

5

Dartmouth College

Ruth, Alice A.

Apr2017

4

10.4

6.00

6

Williams College

Chilton, Collette

Oct2006

14

10.3

2.80

7

Brown U

Dietze, Jane

Dec2013

2

10.2

4.70

8

U Notre Dame

Malpass, Scott C.

Aug1988

32

10.2

12.30

9

U Virginia

Durden, Robert

Apr2018

3

10.1

9.90

10

Carnegie Mellon U

Kennedy, Charles A.

Dec2007

10

9.7

2.10

11

Rockefeller U

Falls, Amy

Apr2011

10

9.6

2.30

12

Wesleyan University

Martin, Anne

Aug2010

11

9.6

1.10

13

Wellesley College

Kuenster, Debby

Feb2009

12

9.5

2.29

14

Stanford University

Wallace, Robert F.

Jul2015

5

9.3

30.30

15

University of Pennsylvania

Ammon, Peter H.

Jul2013

7

9.3

14.90

*David W. Swensen, died May 5, 2021.  BA, U Wisconsin-River Falls, ’75, Yale University MA and Ph.D. ’80

It takes years to fully implement a multi-asset, multi-generational investment strategy and altering course mid-stream – a new investment chair or a change in CIOs – can sap performance for a decade.

Staff Matters

It’s not just a CIO that makes a difference.  An investment staff researches, culls, presents, and monitors themes and opportunities.  Their focus is on the external world of investments and returns.

Kim Lew, Columbia University’s CIO gave us an excellent breakdown of roles and responsibilities in our interview with her last September.  A must read.

Institutional investing is a group effort.  We recruit investment heads for a living and speak from experience when we say that the best investors have the best staffs.

One More Thing: Women are Killing It!

Take a look at our next chart showing endowments performance for one, five, and ten-years.  Seven of the top fourteen chief investment officers in each category are women including the number ones.  Just saying . . .

 

 Women in Finance

Top endowment chief investment officers

1-year, 5-year, 10-year returns as of June 30, 2020

 Source: Charles Skorina & Company

http://www.charlesskorina.com

CEO/CIO

1-yr rtn %

 

CEO/CIO

5-yr rtn %

 

CEO/CIO

10-yr rtn %

 

 

1

Volent, Paula J.
Bowdoin College

11.60

 

1

Dietze, Jane
Brown U

9.80

 

1

Dietze, Jane
Brown U

12.10

2

Alexander, Seth
MIT

11.40

 

2

Alexander, Seth
MIT

9.00

 

2

Falls, Amy
Rockefeller U

10.70

3

Swensen, David W.*
Yale U

10.90

 

3

Volent, Paula J.
Bowdoin College

8.50

 

3

Wilson, Scott
Washington U

9.90

4

Golden, Andrew K. Princeton U

10.60

 

4

Falls, Amy
Rockefeller U

8.50

 

4

Harris, Britt
UTIMCO

9.50

5

Ruth, Alice A.
Dartmouth College

10.40

 

5

Swensen, David W.*
Yale U

7.85

 

5

Martin, Anne
Wesleyan U

8.80

6

Chilton, Collette
Williams College

10.30

 

6

Ruth, Alice A.
Dartmouth College

7.80

 

6

Kuenster, Debby
Wellesley College

8.80

7

Dietze, Jane
Brown U

10.20

 

7

Harris, Britt
UTIMCO

7.80

 

7

Alexander, Seth
MIT

8.30

8

Malpass, Scott C.
U of Notre Dame

10.20

 

8

Golden, Andrew K.
Princeton U

7.70

 

8

Ruth, Alice A.
Dartmouth College

7.60

9

Durden, Robert

U of Virginia

10.10

 

9

Chilton, Collette
Williams College

7.70

 

9

Malpass, Scott C.
U of Notre Dame

7.40

10

Kennedy, Charles A.
Carnegie Mellon U

9.70

 

10

Malpass, Scott C.
U of Notre Dame

7.70

 

10

Dinneen, Anne Hamilton College

7.30

11

Falls, Amy
Rockefeller U

9.60

 

11

Kuenster, Debby Wellesley C

7.60

 

11

Narvekar, Narv *
Harvard U

7.30

12

Martin, Anne Wesleyan U

9.60

 

12

Martin, Anne Wesleyan U

7.40

 

12

McLean, William M. Northwestern U

7.10

13

Kuenster, Debby Wellesley C

9.50

 

13

Kennedy, Charles A. Carnegie Mellon U

7.30

 

13

Swensen, David W.* Yale U

6.80

14

Wallace, Robert F. Stanford U

9.30

 

14

Wallace, Robert F. Stanford U

7.10

 

14

Johnson, Letitia Amherst C

6.60

15

Ammon, Peter H. U of Pennsylvania

9.30

 

15

Wilson, Scott Washington U

7.10

 

15

Pulavarti, “Srini” Emory U

6.35

 

And now, on to our 2020 Endowment big list with one hundred and five colleges and universities (eighty-four over one-billion AUM and twenty-one under one-billion) ranked by 10-year performance as of June 30, 2020.

We think our list highlights what the best institutional investors are capable of achieving in a specific period, but we remind our readers that there’s much more to the story.

Every school has its own endowment payout rate and tolerance for risk.  Some schools rely heavily on income, others place more weight on growing the principal. 

The job of the investment staff is not to beat Yale, it’s to meet the objectives set by the board. 

— Charles Skorina

 

Endowment Performance 2020
Ranked by 10-year returns as of June 30, 2020
Source: Charles Skorina & Company

http://www.charlesskorina.com


10-yr
Rank

Institution

Current Head of Investments and 2020 turnover

10-yr
Rtn%

5-yr
Rtn%

1-yr
Rtn%

AUM
$ billions

1

Bowdoin College

Volent, Paula J.

11.60

8.50

5.90

1.80

2

Mass. Institute of Technology

Alexander, Seth

11.40

9.00

8.30

18.40

3

Yale University

Swensen, David W.*

10.90

7.85

6.80

31.20

4

Princeton University

Golden, Andrew K.

10.60

7.70

5.60

26.60

5

Dartmouth College

Ruth, Alice A.

10.40

7.80

7.60

6.00

6

Williams College

Chilton, Collette

10.30

7.70

3.30

2.80

7

Brown University

Dietze, Jane

10.20

9.80

12.10

4.70

8

University of Notre Dame

Donovan, Michael
x Malpass, Scott C.

10.20

7.70

7.40

12.32

9

University of Virginia

Durden, Robert

10.10

6.60

5.30

9.90

10

Carnegie Mellon University

Kennedy, Charles A.

9.70

7.30

5.40

2.10

11

Rockefeller University

Falls, Amy

9.60

8.50

10.70

2.30

12

Wesleyan University

Martin, Anne

9.60

7.40

8.80

1.10

13

Wellesley College

Kuenster, Debby

9.50

7.60

8.80

2.29

14

Stanford University

Wallace, Robert F.

9.30

7.10

5.60

30.30

15

University of Pennsylvania

Ammon, Peter H.

9.30

7.00

3.40

14.90

16

Colorado College

Moore, Robert C.

9.30

5.91

3.00

0.80

17

Rice University

Thacker, Alison K.

9.30

6.50

-0.70

6.48

18

Amherst College

Johnson, Letitia

9.20

7.00

6.60

3.15

19

Swarthmore College

Amstutz, Mark C.

9.20

6.90

3.30

2.10

20

Columbia University

Lew, Kim Y.
x Holland, Peter

9.10

6.11

5.50

11.30

21

Duke University

Triplett, Neal F.

9.10

5.93

0.70

8.50

22

Pennsylvania State University

Cullen, Joseph M.

9.00

6.50

5.70

4.60

23

Grinnell College

Thayer, Jainen “JT”

9.00

7.30

5.10

2.1

24

U of California Regents

Bachher, Jagdeep S.

8.90

6.60

5.00

14.00

25

Denison University

Browne, Kathleen

8.90

5.90

4.80

0.91

26

Washington U St. Louis

Wilson, Scott

8.80

7.10

9.90

8.50

27

Hamilton College

Dinneen, Anne

8.80

6.10

7.30

1.02

28

Colby College

Shufrin, Deborah
x Hugh O’Donnell

8.80

6.50

3.80

0.88

29

Stetson University

Alexander, Jr., John C.

(Sr Investment Advisor)

8.70

6.60

5.40

0.30

30

University of Michigan

Lundberg, Erik

8.60

6.20

2.30

12.50

31

Northwestern University

McLean, William M.

8.60

6.60

7.10

11.13

32

McGill University

Leblanc, Sophie

8.60

5.00

1.70

1.66

33

Clemson University Fdn

Alexander, Jr., John C.

8.60

6.20

2.50

0.75

34

Emory

Pulavarti, Srinivas “Srini”

8.58

6.58

6.35

7.94

35

University of North Carolina

King, Jonathon

8.50

6.30

2.30

3.64

36

University of Rochester

Phillips, Douglas W.

8.50

6.10

3.70

2.60

37

University of Arkansas Fdn

Cambridge Associates (OCIO)

8.50

6.40

2.90

1.90

38

University of Minnesota (OIB)

Mason, Stuart

8.50

5.50

0.20

1.42

39

University of Western Ontario

Bélanger, Martin

8.50

5.71

1.07

0.59

40

University of Colorado

Agility  (OCIO)

8.43

6.66

4.20

1.90

41

UC San Diego

Committee/ Verus

8.40

6.20

5.00

0.89

42

Boston College

Zona, John J.

8.40

5.60

4.20

2.60

43

North Carolina State University

Peloquin-Dodd, Mary

8.40

6.20

2.10

1.42

44

Claremont McKenna &
Harvey Mudd Colleges

Floyd, James

8.40

5.48

1.90

1.30

45

University of Alberta

Ritter, Ronald

8.40

5.30

-2.50

1.42

46

Michigan State University

Zecher, Philip

8.30

6.90

5.10

3.10

47

Phillips Academy Andover

Glantz, Kirsten Landers

8.30

6.00

3.30

1.13

48

University of Toronto

Smith, Daren M.

8.30

5.60

2.20

2.30

49

Colgate University

Hope, Joseph

8.20

5.80

4.20

0.95

50

U of Southern California

Diamond, Amy
x Lisa Mazzocco

8.20

5.30

2.60

5.91

51

University of Minnesota Fdn

Gorence, Douglas J.

8.20

6.00

1.60

2.50

52

Pomona College

Wallace, Dave

8.20

5.10

1.00

2.25

53

Harvard University

Narvekar, Narv

8.18

5.90

7.30

41.90

54

Tulane University

Chau, Richard
x Crigler, Jeremy

8.10

6.30

2.60

1.06

55

Texas Christian University

Hille, James R.

8.09

5.60

3.62

1.60

56

UofTx/ Tx A&M U (UTIMCO)

Harris, Britt

8.00

7.80

9.50

38.30

57

Drexel University

Ulozas, Catherine

7.95

6.52

2.24

0.80

58

Tufts University

Smith, Craig W.
Dungan, Sally*

7.90

6.30

3.70

1.70

59

University of Missouri System

Richards, Thomas F.

7.90

5.90

1.20

1.70

60

University of Oregon

Engelbert, Volker

7.90

5.30

1.40

0.93

61

Villanova University

McAndrew, Shane P.

7.80

5.90

4.60

0.80

62

University of Washington

Ferguson, Keith

7.80

5.50

1.10

3.60

63

Johns Hopkins University

Perlioni, Jason T.

7.80

5.70

3.70

6.75

64

West Virginia University Fdn

Kraich, Rick

7.76

6.08

5.43

1.80

65

University of Chicago

Schmid, Mark A.

7.70

5.50

3.20

8.60

66

Marquette University

Gissal, Sean

7.70

4.90

0.90

0.69

67

University of British Columbia

Jia, Dawn

7.70

5.00

-1.20

1.67

68

University of Georgia

Bull, Jason

7.60

5.20

1.60

1.30

69

Trinity University

Crow, Craig

7.60

5.60

1.10

1.28

70

Indiana University

Stratten, Gary A.

7.60

4.30

-1.90

2.20

71

University of Tennessee System

Mecherle, Rip

7.60

6.30

-2.60

1.00

72

Cornell University

Miranda, Kenneth

7.50

5.20

1.90

7.20

73

UC Los Angeles

Barton, Justin

7.50

5.04

0.52

4.00

74

Rutgers SUNJ

MacDonald, Jason

7.50

5.30

0.21

1.40

75

Texas A&M University

Pia, Michael

7.41

5.59

0.81

1.95

76

Washington & Lee University

Makena (OCIO)

7.40

5.40

3.20

1.20

77

UC Berkeley

McAuliffe, David

7.40

5.20

2.20

2.12

78

University of Kansas

Clarke, James G.

7.40

5.40

0.40

1.60

79

University of Cincinnati

Scheer, Karl

7.40

4.80

-1.90

1.40

80

Virginia Tech University

Ward, Daniel A.

7.30

3.60

-5.00

1.20

81

University of Illinois Fdn

Ellison, Ellen J.

7.30

4.40

-1.10

1.90

82

UC San Francisco

Harkins, David

7.20

5.50

5.30

2.00

83

University of Florida

Reeser, William S.

7.20

5.60

3.70

1.90

84

University of Toledo

Welch, Donna

7.20

3.10

-1.70

0.54

85

Kansas State University

Cox, Lois

7.10

4.97

2.60

0.67

86

University of Iowa

Bethea, Jim

7.10

3.00

-6.00

1.51

87

Lehigh University

Agatone, Kristin

7.00

5.90

0.70

1.40

88

University of Miami

Maynard, Charmel

6.99

4.74

2.05

1.05

89

Georgia Institute of Technology

Pellegrino, Brian

6.90

5.50

2.60

1.81

90

Case Western Reserve University

Milanich, Tim R.

6.90

5.50

1.30

1.90

91

University of New Mexico

Investment Committee

6.90

4.50

-0.20

0.44

92

Bucknell University

Motto, Angela

6.80

4.66

0.80

0.85

93

Southern Methodist University

Dahiya, Rakesh

6.72

4.25

0.95

1.60

94

University of Nebraska

Neale, Brian

6.70

3.70

-1.30

1.70

95

Haverford College

Casel, Mike

6.70

4.03

-1.30

0.50

96

Vanderbilt University

Hall, Anders

6.60

5.07

-0.10

6.90

97

University of Kentucky

Shupp, Todd

6.60

3.90

-1.00

1.51

98

University of Hawaii

Wo, C. Scott

Invest Committee Chair

6.60

4.40

-0.90

0.34

99

Ohio State University

Srinivasan, Vish
x Lane, John

6.50

4.00

1.10

5.29

100

William and Mary College

Hiestand, F. Brian

6.50

4.60

0.50

1.00

101

University of Massachusetts

Gibbons, Jonathan

6.30

5.07

3.30

0.92

102

University of Utah

Shear, Jonathan

6.11

4.12

0.70

1.42

103

Texas Tech University

Barrett, Tim

6.09

5.24

1.15

1.20

104

University of Arizona

Kelly, Steve

5.90

3.20

-3.00

0.87

105

Miami University

Strategic Investment Group (OCIO)

5.80

3.50

0.90

0.54

*David W. Swensen, died May 5, 2021.  BA, U Wisconsin-River Falls, ’75, Yale University MA and Ph.D. ’80

*Sally Dungan died April 12, 2020.  BA, French literature, Pomona College ‘75, MA, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California ’78

————————————————–

The Skorina Letter

Each issue explores how the world’s most accomplished asset managers think and invest. Original content includes profiles and interviews with industry veterans and research on compensation and investment performance.

Our insights and commentary come from our clients – board members, CEOs, chief investment officers – and the global investment community within which we work as executive search professionals.

Institutional investors operate at the crossroads of capital, talent, and ideas, shepherding over seventy trillion dollars in global assets. It’s a constantly evolving spectacle and The Skorina Letter gives readers a ringside seat.

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