Investment Performance

The University of Chicago’s endowment finished fiscal year 2015 with a market value of $7.55 billion, including $996 million of Medical Center endowment and $82 million of Marine Biological Laboratory endowment. Ninety-six percent of the endowment is invested in the Total Return Investment Pool (TRIP). TRIP’s return, net of outside management fees, was +4.8 percent for the fiscal year. Investment returns generated $272 million to the endowment during fiscal year 2015. The average compounded investment result for the University over the last five years is a 9.8 percent gain; the average since the financial crisis is an 11.4 percent gain[1]; the average over the last 10 years is an 8.3 percent gain; and the average return over the past 20 years is 10.6 percent. Each of these gains outperformed the market-based, policy-weighted strategic benchmarks used by the University for these periods.

Over the same time periods, TRIP returns have been favorable compared with the Cambridge Associates universe of colleges and universities median returns, even as the University has implemented a lower risk profile than most peers (see figure 1). The University and its Trustees have selected an endowment strategy that is consistent with its total enterprise, long range planning strategy in pursuit of academic eminence.

Despite the challenging world markets in FY2015, the endowment continued to reach new highs in market value and has produced strong, double-digit returns since the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. The investment returns earned by TRIP have added $4.1 billion in value to the endowment since the financial crisis and have funded $2.5 billion in payouts to the University and its affiliates in the same period. Over the past two decades, the endowment has grown from $1.68 billion to its current level of $7.55 billion and has been boosted by solid investment returns, generous alumni support, and prudent spending (see figure 2). TRIP’s results reflect positive returns from equities, private markets, and bonds, together with strong performance by the University's investment managers. The endowment continues to be invested in a diverse range of asset classes and strategies.

[1] March 31, 2009 through June 30, 2015 annualized