We provide some clues as to why some of the largest endowments have disappointing results in FY2023
Ivy endowment performance
The projections come from MPI’s Transparency Lab, which provides unique insights into the styles, risks, and performance of traditionally opaque pensions and endowments.
Ivy League university endowments rebounded from their losses in FY2022, but their significant exposure to venture capital meant that every major endowment likely underperformed traditional 60/40 and 70/30 global equity/bond portfolios, according to projections from Markov Processes International, Inc. (“MPI”), a leading independent FinTech provider of software and services for analyzing investment performance and risk.
The projections come from MPI’s Transparency Lab, which tracks the performance of opaque pensions and endowments.
MPI Transparency Lab estimates that the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth University, Brown University and Columbia University endowments will have higher-than-average returns. Meanwhile, Harvard University and Princeton University are projected to be at the lower end of the Ivies.
“Large university endowments are notoriously opaque, providing little indication of what results to expect until they officially release their results, making it a regular autumn spectacle,” said Michael Markov, MPI’s co-founder and CEO. “But even then, after the annual returns are published, there’s little indication of both sources of returns and the risks that were taken to achieve them. We apply our most advanced techniques to publicly sourced data to shed light on this important segment.”
MPI utilizes proprietary technology and public data sources to peek, quantitatively, behind the curtain of a wide range of investments, providing information that is often impossible to obtain otherwise. With the Transparency Lab, all that data and analysis is contained in one place and publicly available, allowing investors, beneficiaries, regulators, researchers, journalists, and other stakeholders to garner unique insight into some of the largest and most opaque investors.
With the MPI Transparency Lab, registered users can view analytics and download “MPI-360” reports that help them uncover trends in asset exposures, explain drivers of both recent and historical results, obtain estimates of risks, drawdowns and efficiency, perform historical stress tests, and evaluate various hypothetical scenarios.
MPI uses its proprietary Dynamic Style Analysis (DSA) and public annual returns to reverse-engineer asset exposure dynamics of large investor portfolios. When endowments report only annual performance figures, a decade’s worth of performance is represented by only 10 data points. Traditional static and rolling-window methods of regression analysis struggle to find credible insights from such infrequent data. MPI’s DSA, however, is uniquely adapted to work with such limited data.
MPI is continuing its long tradition of bringing you special insights into the true drivers of endowment performance and risk. Stay tuned for the launch of our new Endowments research hub, and exciting daily updates throughout the FY2022 reporting season.
Lessons (not) learned: our analysis shows Ivies are at pre-GFC levels of risk
For the second straight year, Brown outperformed all other Ivy endowments by a large margin. Our research team, using MPI Stylus Pro to dissect the endowment annual returns, provides a plausible explanation of the endowment’s spectacular results.
We take a quick look at Ivy schools’ endowments’ performance results both for the 2020 fiscal year and also long-term for 10-year periods.
The grades for all the Ivy League endowments are in – and they are rather disappointing. Save for Brown, all Ivies underperformed the 9.9% return of a domestic 60-40 portfolio in fiscal year 2019. The Ivy average in FY 2019 was 6.7%, significantly underperforming the 60-40 and reversing two years in which they outperformed the traditional domestic benchmark.