Emory ranks in the nation's top tier for endowment returns

By Dena J. Smith | Emory Report | Feb. 1, 2013

In a recently released national survey, Emory ranks 16th of the 850 schools evaluated for their overall endowment market value.

Figures were released Feb. 1, 2013 in the annual rankings for the nation's largest endowments in higher education in the 2012 NACUBO-Commonwealth Study of Endowments (NCSE), which gathered data from nearly 850 U.S. colleges, universities and affiliated foundations. NACUBO is the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

In NCSE's 2012 survey, Emory continues to hold last year's 16th overall ranking in market value of its endowment. During this time period, the endowment increased from $5.40 billion to $5.46 billion. The change in the market value of the endowment reflects the net impact of university spending withdrawals, management and investment fees, donor gifts, and investment gains (rate of return).

"Despite ongoing complexity and volatility in the macro environment, we continue to find compelling investment opportunities which are in line with our need to support the long-term mission of Emory," says Vice President of Investments and Chief Investment Officer Mary L. Cahill.

Emory's rate of return on the actively managed funds in its endowment was 1.82 percent for the one-year period ending June 30, 2012. The average rate of return for schools with endowments over $1 billion was 0.80 percent for the same period, while the average return for all schools surveyed was -0.33 percent.

Emory's fiscal year differs from many schools in the survey, ending on Aug. 31. As of Aug. 31, 2012, the actively managed funds had a one-year investment return of 7.48 percent, which compared favorably to the benchmark for the portfolio over the same period of 4.87 percent, says Cahill.