Endowments and Foundations

Endowments and Foundations - Articles & White Papers

Institutional research and articles covering investment policy and practices at endowments, foundations, non-profits and charities. A number of white papers examine the so-called "endowment model" pioneered by the Harvard and Yale endowments; a well-diversified portfolio with a relatively high allocation to alternative investments. Other popular papers examine trends in asset allocation by endowments and foundations, the quest for performance, and the potential for US foundation endowments to impact the world positively, investing according to an ESG or SRI philosophy. A key challenge for endowments, foundations and charities is to withdraw cash in a sustainable manner, and a number of reports look at sustainable "withdrawal rates". A number of broader investment concepts are considered from an endowment/foundation perspective, such as the outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) model, risk management and active equity investment. Further research articles and surveys in this section cover issues related to endowment performance, investment risk tolerance, and strategies for nonprofit institutional investors.
  • bfinance

    Global Investment Management Fees: New Savings, New Challenges (bfinance, 2017)

    New bfinance data reveals falling fees in several sectors, especially where providers have been under pressure from cheaper competitors or the investment landscape has evolved. Meanwhile, many asset managers have seized the opportunity to launch fashionable products at a premium to their conventional equivalents, with certain breeds of unconstrained, multi-asset or advisory ...

    • Professional
    • Views: 1782
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  • Investment Management Consultants Association

    The Evolution of Asset Classes: Lessons from University Endowments (IMCA)

    This paper surveys the practice of asset allocation for larger U.S. university endowments focusing on asset category definitions. Wide diversity today reflects the broad shift to alternative investments and the blurring of boundaries by investment funds and managers. A prominent example involves hedge funds. Numerous and divergent subcategories depict the current wide-ranging ...

    • Professional
    • Views: 1276
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  • CFA Institute Research Foundation

    A Primer for Investment Trustees: Understanding Investment Committee Responsibilities(CFA Institute Research Foundation)

    Most investment trustees have had successful careers—but not necessarily in the investment field. In their capacities as trustees, they are not responsible for the day-to-day decision making of the funds they serve, but they do bear responsibility for setting investment and governance policy, understanding the fund’s mission, establishing objectives, and assessing ...

  • Wellington Management

    Narrowing the return gap: 10 steps in the right direction (Wellington, Jan 2017)

    Many institutional investors, from public and private pensions to endowments and foundations, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their return targets remain relatively high, while capital market return expectations for the near to intermediate term are still stubbornly low. In this paper, we consider several different approaches to this challenge and propose 10 ...

  • Capacity Management for Institutional Asset Owners (CIFR, 2016)

    This paper examines the management of capacity from the perspective of an institutional asset owner running a multi-asset portfolio. It discusses how asset owners should manage capacity by using their flexibility to choose where and how they invest, in accordance with what best fits their size. One implication is that optimal scale ...

  • Cambridge Associates

    Endowments: Are Your Reserves Long-Term Capital? (Cambridge Assoc, 2015)

    In this white paper, Cambridge Associates explores the process for deciding upon the right level of reserves (that which is set aside to fund an emergency or meet an expected shortfall). Reserves not set aside in this way can be invested longer-term. The authors reveal that this is a complex decision, depending upon a variety of factors, including a projection of future cash-flows, ...

  • Commonfund Institute

    Understanding the Cost of Investment Management: A Guide for Fiduciaries

    This paper seeks to provide fiduciaries with a better understanding of the nature of the costs paid for the funds for which they are responsible, and to support best practice. Past surveys demonstrate a low level of understanding of costs by foundations and endowments. The paper explores different disclosed and undisclosed types of costs. It explains the derivation ...

    • Introductory
    • Views: 1175
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  • Institutional Investors and Sustainable Development (2015)

    This Calpers / PRI / UNEP report explores the changes necessary for institutional investors to adopt a more long-term and sustainable approach to investment. It has interesting views for consultants. Skipping to page 19, the authors write, "The challenge for policymakers is thus to stimulate demand for investment consultancy services that incorporate sustainability, in order ...

  • State Street Global Advisors

    The Quest For Performance (2013)

    The purpose of this paper, which is based on a study of institutional investment patterns, is to shed light on how investors cope with the challenges of strategic asset allocation and portfolio construction amidst low returns.

  • Endowment CIOs: The 100+ Top Guns (Charles Skorina, 2017)

    This letter by Charles Skorina looks at the most recent five-year performance of over 100 of the world's best Chief Investment Officers (CIOs). The letter is split into four parts: Top 100+ CIOs; Allocations, Skill, and Destiny; Outsourced CIOs hold their own; Charts on Performance, Portfolios, Rankings, and Returns.

  • Cambridge Associates

    Can College and University Endowments Do More? (Cambridge Associates, 2017)

    Recent policy proposals assume endowments can do more to reduce the reliance on student revenue, and thus the cost of a college education. These proposals aim to shift more endowment wealth to current student beneficiaries. Our analysis shows that while well intentioned, these proposals will affect endowment and organizational stability and intergenerational equity. While ...

  • Newton Investment Management

    The 2016 Newton Charity Investment Survey

    The Newton Charity Investment Survey covers diverse aspects of the management of charitable portfolios, from investment returns achieved, to the setting of targets, developments in ethical policies, and the stewardship of portfolios. It provides a cross-section of leaders and decision makers in the UK charity sector.

  • Unleashing the Potential of US Foundation Endowments

    This paper presents the reader with extensive primary and secondary source data on the current state and range of foundation involvement in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). The paper also profiles numerous foundations which have gained meaningful social, environmental, or corporate governance outcomes from their approaches to SRI.

  • Commonfund Institute

    Outsourced Investment Management: An Overview for Institutional Decision-Makers (2013)

    The outsourcing of the investment management function used to be considered a good option for small institutions with limited resources. However, it is practiced by many long-term investors with more substantial pools of investable assets. The current management model has become one characterized by the "outsourced chief investment officer" model. This paper explains more ...

  • J.P. Morgan

    Defending the 'Endowment Model'

    This 2012 paper represents the latest installment of our Global Strategic Research publication series from SIAG. The goal in this series is to challenge ourselves and the industry at large to think beyond today’s immediate, tactical issues and seek insights and innovative thinking that break new ground and newly define—or redefine—areas of opportunity for ...