Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How to manage $36 billion

The Wall Street Journal updates the situation of the Harvard endowment (probably behind the paywall).  Half the staff is being let go, so there will be much more reliance on outsiders.

Their new manager, N. P. Narvekar, was recruited from Columbia, after a 14-year stint managing Columbia's money.  His claim to fame was that he succeeded in both up and down markets, and didn't lose much in 2008, when other endowments were crashing.  He did it with singles and doubles, not major bets.

The article provides some insight behind the Harvard endowment's recent lackluster performance, tracing it to the departure of Jack Meyer and his team after a blowup over their compensation.  At the time, Harvard alumni felt that performance bonuses paid for surpassing stated benchmarks were, I don't know, not enough "Harvard-like"?

Narvekar has a three-year contract at $6 million per year.  Doesn't seem like much for managing $36 billion, does it?


Jim Gust said...

Warren Buffett claims Americans pay too much for their investment advice. Has Harvard paid too much for its advice, or too little?

JLM said...

Too much. And even at its reduced level of 150 employees, Harvard's investment office will be woefully overstaffed. As the article notes, Yale's renowned David Swensen gets along with 32.

Jim Gust said...

David Swensen is an outlier. His own proteges have not been able to replicate his success.