“For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016, the return on the Harvard endowment was (2.0)%, resulting in a relative return to its benchmark of (300) basis points. The value of the endowment on June 30, 2016, was $35.7 billion. The low interest rate environment and market volatility of the past fiscal year presented a number of challenges to generating returns. However, we recognize that execution was also a key factor in this year’s disappointing results.
The last ten years, inclusive of the global financial crisis, have been challenging for the Harvard endowment. However, over the last twenty years the endowment has returned 10.4% annualized, exceeding the average annual return on the benchmark portfolio of 7.7%. The value of $1,000 invested in the Harvard endowment has significantly outpaced both a traditional US and Global 60/40 mix of stock and bonds over the same time period. Read more »
The BlackRock Investment Institute publishes capital market assumptions and asset class return every quarter. Five-year and long-term equilibrium annualised return assumptions are in geometric terms. There are long-term volatility and correlation assumptions. Global equities are represented by the MSCI World ex USA Index in the correlation assumptions; global treasuries by the Barclays Global Aggregate Treasury Index ex US. We break down each asset class into factor exposures and analyse those factors’ historical volatilities and correlations over the past 15 years. Expected return estimates are subject to uncertainty and error. Expected returns for each asset class can be conditional on economic scenarios; in the event a particular scenario comes to pass, actual returns could be significantly higher or lower than forecasted.
Source: BlackRock Investment Institute, July 2016.
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In the years ahead, selecting the right asset classes will be crucial.
Cash and Bonds
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