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Asset allocation and portfolio performance: Evidence from university endowment funds

  • Brown, Keith C.
  • Garlappi, Lorenzo
  • Tiu, Cristian
Registered author(s):

    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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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VHN-4Y3TXGM-1/2/692106e121a0b3f8ee034899f7115150
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    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
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/finmar

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    1. Tobin, James, 1974. "What Is Permanent Endowment Income?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 427-32, May.
    2. Marcin Kacperczyk & Clemens Sialm & Lu Zheng, 2005. "On the Industry Concentration of Actively Managed Equity Mutual Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(4), pages 1983-2011, 08.
    3. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Wan Wong, 2005. "Smart Institutions, Foolish Choices? The Limited Partner Performance Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 11136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    8. 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.
    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. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
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