Sluggish investments – Returns on college endowments slide

Investment returns on endowments at colleges and universities slid in the year ended June 30, falling to 11 percent from 18 percent a year earlier, Bloomberg News reports.

Citing an annual report to be released this week by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, Bloomberg says the trade group didn’t immediately offer a reason for the decline.

Colleges and universities on average invested 54 percent of their assets in U.S. stocks, 11 percent in non-U.S. stocks, 22 percent in U.S. bonds and the rest in cash, real estate, venture capital, private investments and foreign bonds, according to the report.

Harvard University had the largest endowment, which grew 9.5 percent to $14.25 billion. Next was the University of Texas system, with $8.1 billion, followed by Yale University, $7.2 billion, and Princeton University, $6.5 billion.

Returns on investment ranged from 29.3 percent to a loss of 15.8 percent. The trade group declined to identify the top university winners and losers.

Bloomberg noted that stocks and bonds were less buoyant in the last fiscal year. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index returned 22.8 percent, down from 30.2 percent a year earlier. And the Lehman Brothers Bond Index returned 3.2 percent in fiscal 1999, down from 10.5 percent.

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