Columbia Endowment Investments Gain 17 Percent

The New York Ivy's endowment strategy yields a stronger result than Harvard's.

Columbia University's endowment investments appreciated 17.3 percent in the fiscal year ended June 30, according to reports in the New York Times and Bloomberg. The preliminary results, conveyed in e-mails, are not accompanied by any details on asset allocations. Columbia's reported results best the 11 percent return reported last week by Harvard Management Company. According to the Times account, Columbia's endowment totals about $6.5 billion (Harvard's is now $27.4 billion); Bloomberg reports that distributions from the endowment fund about 13 percent of Columbia's operating budget (versus 35 percent for Harvard).

The Times also reported that several institutions—Barnard, Smith, Middlebury, Trinity, Dickinson, and the University of Tulsa—whose endowment funds are managed through Investure earned returns of 15.2 percent to 17.7 percent; the margin of superior performance relative to Harvard's fiscal 2010 returns principally reflects Harvard's greater weighting in real-estate investments, which, as reported, produced losses during the year. 

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