Endowment performance ‘solid,’ hits highest total ever

Cornell University’s endowment returned 12.5 percent for the year ending June 30, bringing its value to $6.8 billion, its highest total to date.

Performance was led by the endowment’s public equity portfolios, which benefited from broad gains in global equity markets, particularly in Europe and in emerging economies, and by its private equity investments.

Said Donald Opatrny ’74, Cornell trustee and chair of the board’s Investment Committee: “We are pleased that the endowment generated solid investment performance this year, and we will continue the work of positioning the endowment to drive superior investment performance.”

The Office of University Investments conducted comprehensive reviews of each asset class and its overall approach to managing the endowment. These efforts are intended to boost performance over the time, increase endowment flexibility, reduce fees and increase responsiveness to changing investment trends.

Kenneth Miranda, chief investment officer, said these initiatives aided endowment performance in the previous fiscal year. Ongoing reviews and work efforts, he said, are expected to yield further improvements.

Miranda, who was named CIO at the beginning of fiscal year 2017, noted that it was a transitional year for the endowment and for investment office staff, as they implemented significant changes to portfolio strategy and management and moved to New York City.

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