IMC CEO Statement on FY21 Endowment Returns
October 21, 2021
The total value of the Columbia endowment as of June 30, 2021, was $14.35 billion, up from $11.3 billion, reflecting returns, gifts and transfers, and spending from the endowment in fiscal 2021. Columbia University produced a return of 32.3% on the managed assets in its endowment portfolio for the fiscal year. The University’s five-year and ten-year returns are 12.3% and 9.9% respectively.
“I am pleased with our absolute returns and our performance against asset class benchmarks,” said Kim Lew, CEO of Columbia’s Investment Management Company. “This reflects the hard work and insights of our team over many years on manager selection. However, there is still much work to do as we look forward. Our performance on a relative basis to large endowments reflects a fundamentally different risk profile and substantially lower allocation to venture capital in particular. The underlying assumptions and approach are areas that I began to examine in-depth with our team and our board when I took the helm in October 2020, and I am pleased with our analysis and where we have begun to make new investments. This is a time of terrific opportunity, and we feel well-positioned and with sufficient liquidity to make shifts where we see an opportunity for growth over the long-term, with the understanding that new investments will take years to benefit the institution. I am appreciative of President Bollinger’s and our board’s support, and remain confident that as we chart a course forward we will strike the proper balance between risk and long-term returns that reflect the critical function of the Columbia endowment to support students from all backgrounds, academic programs, and research in New York and around the world.”