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Endowments and Foundations

Yale, Stanford led endowments in paring Asia bets last quarter

Global Currencies - 3d rendering

Some of the biggest U.S. college endowments withdrew almost $700 million of Asia-focused investments in the second quarter.

Yale University executed the largest sale, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, pulling $345.2 million from the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets exchange-traded fund dominated by Chinese companies including Tencent Holdings. The fund returned 15% through the first half of the year and an additional 4.7% since.

The Ivy League school also yanked $51.3 million from the BlackRock (BLK) iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF. Stanford University sold $126.2 million of shares in JD.com, China's second-biggest online mall.

Harvard University's endowment, the biggest school fund in the U.S., sold $17.2 million of stock in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as well as smaller stakes in other Chinese firms, including JD.com, micro-blogging platform Weibo Corp. and Momo Inc., a social-networking company.

Yale didn't completely abandon Asia in the second quarter as it invested $34.3 million in the iShares China Large-Cap ETF, which counts Tencent and China Construction Bank Corp. as its largest holdings.

ETFs dominated the action in the second quarter, continuing a trend among endowments moving toward passive investment strategies. Seven of the 10 largest public investment moves, totaling more than $1.1 billion, were in ETFs.

Asset managers overseeing more than $100 million in the U.S. must disclose their publicly traded holdings within 45 days of the end of each quarter. Emory University, Northwestern University, University of California, University of Texas, Duke University and Rice University also reported holdings in the quarter.