Stanford Posts 0.4% Decline in Year of Losses at Top Endowments

  • School’s fund increased to $22.4 billion through August
  • Robert Wallace has led Stanford’s endowment since 2015

Stanford University’s investments declined 0.4 percent for the year through June 30, a period when many of the richest and top-performing endowments struggled with volatile markets.

Stanford’s fund rose in value by less than 1 percent to $22.4 billion as of Aug. 31, due to gifts and other funds transferred into the endowment, the school in a statement Wednesday on its website. Stanford’s fiscal year ends in August but the school provided a return through the period when most college endowments report.

More than a dozen university endowments with assets of more than $1 billion have reported investment declines. Endowments with more than $500 million lost a median 0.73 percent, according to the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service. The data, from fund custodians, is gross of fees, while most schools report returns including fees.

“Despite a difficult investment climate, the endowment increased as a result of the generosity of Stanford’s donors, positive merged pool returns for the August fiscal year, and substantial growth in the value of income-generating properties on Stanford’s lands,” Randy Livingston, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer, said in the statement.

Stanford in the statement didn’t disclose strategies the endowment used or performance by asset class.

The fund, run by Stanford Management Company, has been led by Robert Wallace since March 2015. The “merged pool” is Stanford’s primary investment vehicle and includes most of the university’s endowment and expendable funds, as well as capital reserves from Stanford Health Care and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

The investment loss was the merged pool’s first decline since 2009, according to school data.

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