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New York University Endowment Fund

Name: NYU Investment Office

Assets Under Management:  $3.5 Billion (Source: New York University on 8/31/2014)

Annual Report:  New York University Endowment Fund Summary

Portfolio Insights: “NYU’s Endowment Fund provides a permanent source of capital and support to the University’s mission and programs. The portfolio is managed by professional investment staff (the NYU Investment Office), and utilizes a roster of external managers across multiple strategies and geographies. As of NYU’s fiscal year end, August 31, 2014, the value of NYU’s Main Endowment Fund stood at $3.1 billion, and NYU’s total combined Endowment assets stood at $3.5 billion.

The investment objective of the Endowment is to support current and future generations of students and faculty equally, by providing current financial support to the University’s operating budget while also preserving the Fund’s long-term purchasing power. To achieve its goals, the Fund is actively managed and relies on a globally diversified, equity-oriented approach that seeks opportunities in less efficient markets. Implementation of NYU’s investment policy strategy has resulted in less severe losses during down markets, allowing for more stable compounding, which the University has preferred given continuous spending distributions and a conservative risk tolerance.” (Source)

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Top New York University Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) New York University, the largest private nonprofit university in the U.S., promoted Tina Surh to chief investment officer of its $2.5 billion endowment.

Surh, 39, the acting CIO since October, has overseen the fund since her predecessor, Maurice Maertens, retired last year, the Manhattan school said today in an e-mailed statement. Surh, who joined NYU in 2005 as director of investments, was promoted to deputy CIO in 2008.

Surh graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and has a master’s in business administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. NYU said in November that its fund investments fell 11 percent in the year ended Aug. 31, compared with an 18 percent drop for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, including dividends. The university added to its bond investments and reduced stock holdings. (Source)

2) New York University (NYU) is a private, nonsectarian American research university based in New York City. NYU’s main campus is located at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan. Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the largest private nonprofit institutions of American higher education.

NYU was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1950. NYU counts 35 Nobel Prize winners, three Abel Prize winners, 10 National Medal of Science recipients, Pulitzer Prize winners, over 30 Academy Award winners, four Putnam Competition winners, Russ Prize, Gordon Prize, and Draper Prize winners, Turing Award winners, and Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award winners among its faculty and alumni. NYU also has MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowship holders as well as National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering members among its past and present graduates and faculty. (Source)

3) Tina Surh is the Chief Investment Officer of New York University, and is responsible for the design and implementation of investment policy and strategy for the University’s $3 billion Endowment. NYU’s Endowment portfolio is globally diversified and actively managed, and includes a substantial proportion of alternative investments. Ms. Surh also fulfills additional investment oversight responsibilities for several University sponsored plans and programs.

Ms. Surh joined NYU in early 2005 as the Director of Investments and was promoted to Deputy Chief Investment Officer in early 2008. She has led the Investment Office since mid-2009, building out of NYU’s investment organization and substantially developing all aspects of endowment management for the institution. (Source)

4) Among universities with endowments greater than $1 billion, New York University performed the best, despite a 15% drop which left it with $2.1 billion in assets. Martin Dorph, the university’s senior vice president for finance, attributed the relatively positive performance to the endowment’s conservative asset allocation.

NYU had $780 million–or about 35% of its endowment–invested in fixed income at the beginning of 2009. Another 30% was invested in hedge funds, 25% in equities and 10% in private equity.

“The reality for NYU is that, while our endowment is large on an absolute basis, it is not as large on a per-student basis as our peer institutions’,” Dorph said. “Our endowment is seen as more precious because we don’t have as much.” (Source)

5) New York University released a climate action plan in 2010 and integrates sustainability into its strategic plan, NYU 2031. The sustainability office employs multiple staff, including a full-time manager who serves as project administrator for the university’s sustainability task force. The university requires the purchase of paper with at least 30 percent postconsumer recycled content and regularly purchases energy-efficient appliances and electronics. In 2009, the Green Grants program funded 23 different on-campus green initiatives led by school community members. (Source)


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