Bridge over ocean
1 September 2013 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 69, Issue 5

Do (Some) University Endowments Earn Alpha?

  1. Brad M. Barber
  2. Guojun Wang

The authors analyzed the returns earned by U.S. educational endowments using style attribution models. For the average endowment, models with only public stock and bond benchmarks explain virtually all the time-series variation in returns, yield no alpha, and generate sensible factor loadings. Elite institutions perform better than public stock and bond benchmarks because of large allocations to alternative investments. The authors found no evidence that manager selection, market timing, and tactical asset allocation generate alpha.

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