The university’s endowment, valued at about $6.5 billion, rose an average of 7.9% annually in the past five years, Robert Hornsby, a spokesman for New York-based Columbia, said Wednesday in an e-mail. That compares with a 4.7% gain at Harvard and a 3.1% increase for institutions tracked by Wilshire Associates.
Columbia and Harvard’s gains mark a turnaround from respective losses of 16% and 27%, respectively, for the prior year. Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard said Sept. 9 its investments rose 11%, lagging behind the 13% median gain of institutional funds tracked by Wilshire.
Harvard’s endowment climbed $1.4 billion to $27.4 billion as of June 30. The fund targets 23% of its investments in real assets such as natural resources and property, more than five times the allocation in the Wilshire universe, triggering its underperformance in the past year.
Columbia’s endowment gains generate about 13% of the university’s budget, Robert Kasdin, a senior vice president at the university, said in an interview. He declined to say how specific asset classes performed.
The valuation of the fund is preliminary and unaudited, he said.