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Barry Ritholtz

Ivy League Endowments Make the Same Old Mistakes

Hedge funds and natural resources underperformed. New investments in private equity look no better. 

But can it beat the market.

But can it beat the market.

Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg

The latest university endowment return data dribbling out for the fiscal year ended June 30 is not pretty.

Earlier return estimates of 8.7% for the Ivy League were too optimistic. Harvard’s endowment gained 6.5%, while Yale’s had an increase of just 5.7%; the University of Pennsylvania endowment gained 6.5%; Dartmouth yielded 7.5%; Brown, the smallest of the Ivy endowments at $4 billion, was a performance outlier at 12.4% (Princeton, Cornell and Columbia have yet to report). Other notable endowment returns include Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 8.8%, Stanford at 6.5% and Duke at 6.9%.