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Asset allocation and portfolio performance: Evidence from university endowment funds

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  • Brown, Keith C.
  • Garlappi, Lorenzo
  • Tiu, Cristian
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    Abstract

    We use university endowment funds to study the relationship between asset allocation decisions and performance in multiple asset class portfolios. Although endowments differ substantially in asset class composition, policy portfolio returns and volatilities are remarkably similar across the sample. The risk-adjusted performance of the average endowment is negligible, but actively managed funds generate significantly larger alphas than passive ones. This is consistent with endowment managers exploiting their security selection abilities by over-weighting asset classes in which they have superior skills. Contrary to both theory and prevailing beliefs, asset allocation is not related to portfolio returns in the cross-section but does indirectly influence performance.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Financial Markets.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 268-294

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:finmar:v:13:y:2010:i:2:p:268-294

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/finmar

    Related research

    Keywords: Endowment funds Asset allocation Investment performance;

    References

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    1. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    2. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
    3. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Wan Wongsunwai, 2007. "Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices: The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 731-764, 04.
    4. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
    5. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Jialan Wang, 2008. "Secrets of the Academy: The Drivers of University Endowment Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 207-22, Summer.
    6. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
    7. Blake, David & Lehmann, Bruce N & Timmermann, Allan, 1999. "Asset Allocation Dynamics and Pension Fund Performance," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 429-61, October.
    8. Tobin, James, 1974. "What Is Permanent Endowment Income?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 427-32, May.
    9. Avramov, Doron & Wermers, Russ, 2006. "Investing in mutual funds when returns are predictable," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 339-377, August.
    10. Litvack, James M & Malkiel, Burton G & Quandt, Richard E, 1974. "A Plan for the Definition of Endowment Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 433-37, May.
    11. Treynor, Jack L & Black, Fischer, 1973. "How to Use Security Analysis to Improve Portfolio Selection," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 66-86, January.
    12. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2004. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," NBER Working Papers 10770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Scott Weisbenner, 2012. "The Supply of and Demand for Charitable Donations to Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 18389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alexander, Gordon J. & Baptista, Alexandre M., 2011. "Portfolio selection with mental accounts and delegation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 2637-2656, October.
    3. Agarwal, Vikas & Nada, Vikram & Ray, Sugata, 2013. "Institutional investment and intermediation in the hedge fund industry," CFR Working Papers 13-03, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    4. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2013. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Keith C. Brown & Cristian Ioan Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Chapters, in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Keith Brown & Cristian Tiu, 2013. "The Interaction of Spending Policies, Asset Allocation Strategies, and Investment Performance at University Endowment Funds," NBER Working Papers 19517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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