National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

By Anne Duggan, Ethan Sales

This whitepaper was written for educational institutions and other organizations that benchmark themselves against university education-based peers to better understand the drivers of performance over the short- and long-term using the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Commonfund FY2023 Study of Endowments as a data set. This topic can be useful for helping organizations think about their long-term asset allocation strategy and how they compare to similar sized and resourced peers.

This paper shares our observations on the differences between large and small endowments and how those differences can lead to significant dispersion between short- and long-term performance, while also assessing year-over-year changes in endowments’ asset allocations and how those reconcile with, in our view, an improved opportunity set for long-term performance. While it may feel challenging for smaller organizations to deploy assets like the largest and most well-known organizations, we believe a complex and risk-managed investment strategy is available to endowments of all sizes if they select the right partners. Equipped with access to top-tier managers and a process to appropriately manage the portfolio, smaller endowments can stand toe-to-toe with any organization.

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