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Yale May Buy More Hedge Fund Assets After Favoring Cash

Yale University, the second-wealthiest college, may increase its holdings of hedge funds after cutting them last year and shifting into cash, according to a report from the investments office run by David Swensen.

Yale, whose $19.3 billion endowment is second in size only to Harvard University’s, may boost hedge fund investments to 18 percent of its portfolio after cutting them to 14.5 percent in the year that ended in June, according to the report posted to the investments office website. The university also increased its target for private equity and real estate holdings.

The new targets show New Haven, Connecticut-based Yale’s appetite for buying hard-to-sell assets is growing again after the investments contributed to the school’s record 24.6 percent loss amid the global financial crisis in 2009. Swensen, who has run Yale’s investment office since 1985, is credited with crafting a model for universities to generate superior returns by buying more of the so-called illiquid assets while cutting holdings of bonds, publicly traded equities and cash.

Yale raised its target for private equity investments to 35 percent from 34 percent and real estate investments to 22 percent from 20 percent.

Tom Conroy, a spokesman for Yale, had no immediate comment when contacted by e-mail.

Yale had 2.7 percent of its endowment in cash as of June 30, up from negative 1.1 percent the year prior, according to the report. The university, which posted a 4.7 percent gain on its endowment in the year ended June 30, has a target to have nothing in cash, the report shows.

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