Harvard and Yale Investors Are Different From You and Me

Yale’s endowment eked out a mere 3.4 percent return during the fiscal year to June. Harvard’s investment portfolio fell 2 percent in fiscal year 2016, while the University of Pennsylvania’s dropped 1.4 percent. An average investor armed simply with a traditional 60/40 portfolio of U.S. stocks and bonds would have enjoyed a 4.8 percent return over the same period (those are returns for the S&P 500 and the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, including dividends), easily beating Yale’s peer-best return. So what happened to these resource rich endowments?

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