Photographer: Cheryl Senter/Bloomberg

Ivy League Fails to Keep Pace With Peers on Endowment Returns

  • Eight-member Ivies gain 12.6% on average in fiscal 2017
  • Dartmouth leads the group while Harvard is at the bottom

Endowment performance at the eight-member Ivy League trailed college funds on average in the 12 months through June, a period that rewarded portfolios heavily invested in public equities rather than private markets.

The average return among the Ivies was 12.6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The performance slightly trails the 12.7 percent average among 450 endowments and foundations calculated by Cambridge Associates.

Four Ivies -- University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Dartmouth College and Brown University -- produced returns higher than the average. Dartmouth led with a 14.6 percent gain while Harvard University was the lowest with an 8.1 percent return.

It’s the second fiscal year that the Ivy League’s performance has narrowed against other U.S. school funds. In fiscal 2016, the group had an average decline of 0.8 percent, while endowments lost an average 1.9 percent, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. In fiscal 2015, The Ivy League average gain was 7.8 percent, three times larger than the 2.4 percent for expanded group.

The group has better long-term returns, reporting average 5.8 percent investment gains in the past 10 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The national average is 4.4 percent, according to Cambridge.

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