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Investment Report

The 2017 Investment Report (pdf) is available. Worth going through in detail, like we did last year?

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#1 Comment By Hi On December 21, 2017 @ 9:18 am

Another year, another report that does not show how they did w.r.t. benchmark in each bucket (yes, you were up in long only equity but how did you do relative to msci acwi)?

ALSO, the problem with having dedicated, well compensated staff for endowment is that their main objective is that they don’t get fired.
This has some implications: for example, it is obvious that they will not invest into Bitcoin until BTC becomes ludicrously expensive (i.e., when everyone else piles in). Because, if BTC does stupendously well, they don’t get paid much more; and if BTC crashes, they look like idiots and get fired.

BTW, the career risk pattern of behavior above is common in vast majority investment managers. Note that this has implications for BTC price going forward.

#2 Comment By JCD On December 21, 2017 @ 9:55 am

Over the last 10 years, the school has seen a rate of return of 6.5%.

Nevertheless, going through the “Investment Report” is like reading a memo from the national Democrat party. Everyone included in the document is some sort of financial genius including Falk, the staff, the board, the investment committee members and the various fund managers.

The sycophants who authored the report credit Falk for attending the investment committee meetings and flatter him for asking good questions and applying his decidedly superior intellect to their proceedings.

Unfortunately, this same towering genius was somehow unable to prevent the school from ending up among the ten worst schools in the nation for protecting freedom of speech in 2017. See,

FIRE Announces America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2017

To me, the saddest element of the whole report was the chart showing how the school weathered the market losses of 2009. Gifts to the college went down. The endowment went down. But tuition payments from students remained completely level.

Ideally, we should be applauding the parents who carried the school on their backs during the bad times, not the self-congratulating stewards who take personal credit for the rebound of the market and the inheritance of an endowment that enjoys the long-term benefits of compound interest.

#3 Comment By gus On December 21, 2017 @ 5:22 pm

Apologies in advance for random posting – didn’t know where to share this link otherwise. A long article, specific to Wesleyan, but detailing many of themes (football recruits, tips, implications) discussed at great length on this blog. It’s sobering to consider how prevalent this issue appears to be across NESCAC.

The Liberal Arts Football Factory – Is Wesleyan University compromising its independent reputation and academic excellence to build an athletic cash cow?


#4 Comment By hmm On December 22, 2017 @ 12:54 am

Williams just posted their CDS which could be worth looking through: https://provost.williams.edu/files/williams_cds_1718.pdf

Massive surges in test scores this year than from any other year. Changing admissions strategy?

Another interesting points: Williams hit a 6:1 student to faculty ratio, which will likely be the lowest of any LAC. Good move. Most peers are 8:1.

Of Williams’s peer schools, only Pomona has posted their 2018 CDS as well:


The test score gap between the two is gigantic this year; in the past, Pomona has had equal or higher test scores than Williams. Pomona is more racially diverse and has a higher percent of students ranking in the top 10%, as well as a higher yield, so it seems they deliberately made test scores a weaker factor.

Would be interested in seeing what people think. Kudos to Pomona for attracting a super diverse student body (even Stanford doesn’t have the same %), but is that worth significant declines in testing? It’ll be interesting seeing the long-term implications of this for graduation rates.

#5 Comment By hmm On December 22, 2017 @ 1:05 am

Another interesting point- Williams has considerably more males this year, especially in the first year class. 56% male vs. 44% female. But this manifests largely due to yield differences (could be more males admitted in ED).

Williams ADMITTED:
15.7% of males (47% of applicant pool overall)
13.6% of females (53% of applicant pool overall)
Gender ratio: 51% male, 49% female

Williams ENROLLED:
47.8% of male admits ultimately matriculated
39.5% of female admits ultimately matriculated
Gender ratio: 56% male, 44% female

Pomona, by comparison:

10.2% of males (39% of applicant pool overall)
7.2% of females (61% of applicant pool overall)
Gender ratio: 47% male, 53% female

53.7% of male admits ultimately matriculated
55.1% of female admits ultimately matriculated
Gender ratio: 47% male, 53% female

#6 Comment By hmm On December 22, 2017 @ 1:20 am

Last post, sorry for the triple- just noticed Middlebury just posted too: http://www.middlebury.edu/system/files/media/CDS_2017-2018%20for%20print_3.pdf

Williams’s test scores are much higher. For what seems to be the first time ever, Middlebury’s six year grad rate is higher than both Williams’s and Pomona’s. Retention is slightly lower (as it has been relative to Williams). William’s student body is more diverse. The gender ratio of Middlebury’s first year class is balanced compared to both Williams and Pomona, though they get a higher percent of female applicants than Williams.

One thing to note is that there’s a known gender gap in testing between males and females, so that could account for the higher test scores this year at Williams.

Any other peer schools I’m missing? The 2018 CDS isn’t out for Carleton, Bowdoin, Amherst, Wesleyan, Dartmouth, Colby, or Haverford.

#7 Comment By DDF On December 22, 2017 @ 7:24 am


Please join us as an author! These are great comments and deserve to be on the main page.