American endowments’ complicated love affair with private equity

The endowment portfolios of 50 years ago are barely recognizable. As the class of 2024 looks to the future and FY 2024 closes out, Robin Wigglesworth captures the evolution of the endowment model of investing very well in his Financial Times Alphaville piece, “American endowments’ complicated love affair with private equity.” When describing risks of private investments, he mentions MPI research FY2023 Ivy Report Card: Volatility Laundering and the Hangover from Private Markets Investing.

CIO Magazine’s Extensive Coverage of MPI’s Annual Endowment Report

CIO Magazine’s Matt Toledo provides an analysis of both the NACUBO’s 2023 Fiscal Year study and MPI’s 9-th annual quantitative report of Ivy Endowment performance and risk. In his article U.S. College Endowments Gained 7.7% in Fiscal 2023, Although Suffer From Weak Alternatives Returns (ai-cio.com)  ​​​“For multiple reasons it is unlikely that endowments that are heavily allocated to private markets and alternatives veer from the so called ‘Yale model’ after the challenges of fiscal year 2023. Our research shows that Ivy and elite endowments are risk takers, and their portfolios are not particularly efficient​,​” MPI CEO Michael Markov was quoted when discussing the possibility of shifting allocations to public equities.

Ivy League Endowment Returns Depended on One Decision: VC or PE?

An extensive coverage by Julie Segal in her Institutional Investor article of the MPI’s 9-th annual Ivy League endowment report. She writes: “With little transparency into endowment portfolios, MPI used its proprietary returns-based style analysis to determine the exposure that the Ivy League and elite colleges had to major asset classes — and their contribution to the performance of the entire portfolio in fiscal year 2023… Even in a good year, “you’re not going to get a lot of transparency,” Markov [MPI’s CEO] told Institutional Investor. “But in a bad year, you’ll get zero transparency from endowments. It’s not pensions where they have to give something to people.”

MPI: Venture Capital, Technology Investments Will Define 2023 University Endowment Returns

Matt Toledo with CIO Magazine reviews in this article recent performance of top endowments from Yale, UPenn and Stanford and compares them with projections from MPI Transparency Lab. “Stanford announced on Thursday a 4.4% return in fiscal 2023, slightly below MPI’s estimate of 6.42%. Stanford attributed its underperformance—as compared with Cambridge Associates’ 6.9% median return for university endowments—to losses in its venture capital investments, in line with MPI’s projections,” – he writes.

MPI Announces Key Drivers of Performance at Bowdoin, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania

Institutional Investor features MPI’s latest research series on university endowments in fiscal year 2021. In the article, Co-founder and CEO Michael Markov discusses how asset allocation played a far more important role in returns than manager selection.