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ASSET OWNERS

Northwestern endowment misses benchmark with 1.9% fiscal-year return

Northwestern University's Segal Visitor Center, on
Northwestern University’s Segal Visitor Center, on the Lake Michigan shoreline

Northwestern University's $9.8 billion endowment returned a net 1.9% for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, below its 4.7% custom benchmark return and 5.9% spending-plus-inflation target, said a performance report on the Evanston, Ill.-based university's website.

A breakout of asset class returns was not provided.

The endowment's asset allocation as of Aug. 31 was 20.4% absolute return, 20.1% private investments, 16.4% international equity, 15.4% real assets, 12.6% U.S. equity, 11% fixed income, 3.4% high-yield credit and 0.7% cash.

For the three, five and 10 years ended Aug. 31, the endowment returned an annualized 6.9%, 7.4% and 6.6%, respectively, exceeding its custom benchmarks and spending-plus-inflation targets in each of those periods.

For the 12 months ended June 30, the more typical fiscal year for colleges and universities, the endowment returned -2.7%. For the three, five and 10 years ended June 30, NU reported annualized returns of 6.5%, 6.5% and 6.6%, respectively.

William H. McLean, vice president and chief investment officer, could not immediately be reached for additional information.