Brown University Endowment Posts 5.7% Annual Investment Return

  • Value of the endowment reaches new peak of $3.3 billion
  • Fund beat benchmark by 240 basis points, university says

Brown University, with the smallest endowment in the Ivy League, posted investment gains of 5.7 percent in the year ended June 30, lagging peers that have reported so far.

The value of the fund rose about about 3 percent to a new peak of $3.3 billion, the Providence, Rhode Island-based school said in a statement Wednesday. The annual return beat its benchmark by 240 basis points.

The school’s annual average return of 7.5 percent in the past decade is lower than that of Harvard and Yale, but still within the long-term target for an endowment. The fund is managed by Joseph Dowling III, the chief investment officer since 2013. In the last few years, the office has focused on improving manager selection and asset allocation.

“Strong endowment performance in an environment of continued economic uncertainty allows Brown to sustain its leadership in several important areas,” Barbara Chernow, executive vice president for finance and administration at Brown, said in the statement.

Other Ivy League schools have reported higher returns for the year ended June 30. Yale University’s investment return was 11.5 percent. Dartmouth College had an 8.3 percent return, while Harvard University, with the largest endowment in higher education at $37.6 billion, posted a 5.8 percent gain.

The median return for endowments and foundations with more than $500 million this year is 3.6 percent, according to an estimate by Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service.

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