Yale University’s endowment reported an 11.5 percent investment gain for fiscal 2015, nearly double Harvard University’s return.
Harvard’s Ivy League rival, located in New Haven, Conn., added $2.6 billion to the value of its endowment, to end the year at $25.6 billion.
While still significantly smaller than Harvard’s $37.6 billion fund, the largest among universities, Yale has performed dramatically better than Harvard over a decade, with a 10 percent annualized return, vs. Harvard’s 7.6 percent.
Harvard earlier this week posted a 5.8 percent gain for the fiscal year ended June 2015, the latest in a series of mediocre years.
Other elite peers also outdid Harvard: Stanford University reported a 7 percent gain for the year, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s endowment – run by Seth Alexander, a former protege of Yale endowment chief David Swensen – posted a 13.2 percent return.
The Harvard results were the first under the endowment’s new chief executive, Stephen Blyth. In his report, Blyth acknowledged what he described as disappointing performance for the fund.
He laid out a number of changes aimed at improving returns, including an overhaul of the fund’s asset allocation strategy. He also said plans are underway to recast the compensation structure to encourage more cooperation among managers and link pay in part to performance of the entire fund.
Harvard has been criticized in recent years for having the highest-paid endowment managers among the top schools, but the worst performance.