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Endowments and Foundations

Northwestern University’s endowment returns 11.7% for fiscal year, topping its benchmark

Northwestern University's endowment returned a net 11.7% for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, above its 11.5% composite benchmark return and 7.5% spending-plus-inflation target, said Maureen Fenty, business administrator, in an email.

A breakout of asset class returns was not provided.

As of Aug. 31, the Evanston, Ill.-based $10.5 billion endowment had an asset allocation of 21% private investments, 19.1% absolute return, 18.7% international equity, 15.1% real assets, 13.1% U.S. equity, 8.5% fixed income, 3.2% high-yield credit and 1.3% cash.

For the three, five, 10 and 15 years ended Aug. 31, the endowment returned an annualized 5.3%, 8.7%, 5.6% and 9%, respectively, vs. its composite benchmarks of 5.3%, 8.1%, 5.7% and 8.2% in each of those periods and its spending-plus-inflation targets of 6%, 6.1%, 6.5%, and 6.8%.

Last fiscal year, the endowment returned a net 1.9% for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2016, below its 4.7% custom benchmark return and 5.9% spending-plus-inflation target.