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Barry Ritholtz

Harvard's Lesson in Private Equity

The fascination with complex alternative investments is fading.
Sad but true.

Sad but true.

Photographer: David L. Ryan/boston globe/getty images

These are tough times for university endowments -- there’s the difficulty of producing consistent results; the questionable love of investments in hedge funds and private equity amid high fees and underperformance; and the challenge of having to respond to competing constituencies. These issues are not going away anytime soon. If anything, they are becoming more pronounced and complicated in a time of low interest rates and volatile markets.

In that context, this doesn’t come as shocking news: Harvard Management Corp., the entity that runs Harvard University’s endowment, is considering the sale of part of its private-equity investments.