Harvard, world’s wealthiest university, sees endowment soar to $53.2 billion

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FILE PHOTO: Students and pedestrians walk through the yard at Harvard University after the school told its students not to return to campus after spring break and said it was ready for undergraduate and graduate classes in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, March Will move to virtual instruction. 10, 2020. Businesshala/Brian Snyder
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BOSTON (Businesshala) – Harvard University, already the richest in the world, said on Thursday that its endowment posted a 34% profit and grew to $53.2 billion in the fiscal year ending June.

Investments in private and public markets helped fuel that growth in what university officials called an “excellent” year. A year ago, Harvard reported 7.3% growth during the fiscal year ending June 2020, just months after markets plunged amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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But the returns lag behind other major endowments that invest in private equity, venture capital and hedge funds the way Harvard does.

NP Narvekar, the university’s chief investment officer and chief executive of Harvard Management Company (HMC), said Harvard’s gains would have been much greater if the school had invested in riskier assets. He also cautioned that the endowment will not produce this type of return every year.

In previous years, Harvard took less risk in its portfolio than many of its peers, Narvekar said in the university’s annual financial report. “Put another way, given the exceptionally strong performance of the overall markets this past year, a meaningfully high level of portfolio risk would have dramatically increased HMC’s returns,” he said.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology endowments rose 56% to $27.4 billion in the year ended June, while Brown University rose 52% to $6.9 billion, schools said.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bellis; Editing by Susan Fenton

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