perspectives | Articles

Increasing Giving During COVID-19: Thoughts for Philanthropy

The Council on Foundations has acted to support its members, their nonprofit partners, and the people and communities hit hardest by the impacts of COVID-19 by asking members to sign a pledge of...
perspectives | Articles

Higher Ed in the Age of COVID-19

Commonfund convenes an expert panel to take on the short- and intermediate-term threats that higher education confronts in the face of a national emergency the likes of which have not been seen for...
perspectives | Articles

How Can Trustees Achieve Intergenerational Equity in the Face of Rising Costs?

The Commonfund Higher Education Price Index® (HEPI) is an inflation index for colleges and universities. It has been calculated since 1983 and includes inflation data going back to 1961. Commonfund...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint | Responsible Investing: Evolution, Not Resolution

In recent years, responsible investing has received mounting levels of attention from all quarters of the investment management field, from institutional investors large and small to global asset...
perspectives | Articles

Optimize Luck

Instead of just optimizing for skill, why don’t we optimize for luck? Optimize Luck originated in a group discussion I facilitated for the Investment Institute, a membership organization for...
perspectives | Articles

Diversity and Inclusion on Nonprofit Boards is Effective Stewardship

Many institutions recognize the need for diversity and inclusion on their boards and investment committees. Diverse and inclusive boards can make more effective decisions, design and deliver...
perspectives | Articles

Outsourcing: Writing Your RFP

Once an institution decides to pursue the outsourced CIO or investment office option, it usually leads to the creation of a request for proposal, or RFP.  Considering that the outsourced model is a...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Actions Speak Louder than Data

In this Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Foundations viewpoint, it's about analyzing and interpreting the data we've collected. What do they tell us? What trends are emerging? How are...
perspectives | Articles

An Investor’s Guide to Private Equity Today

Commonfund recently hosted a panel discussion focused on the current state of private equity and venture capital, with an emphasis on the investor’s perspective of the industry today. The three...
perspectives | Articles

Dynamic Workforce = Dynamic Portfolios

The Surprising Outcomes When Diverse Groups and Homogeneous Groups Tackle the Same Problem In late 2018, Commonfund established a Diversity Office with the objective of benefiting from the strengths...
perspectives | Articles

The Global Economy and the Return of Risk

How to think about tariffs, deficits, valuations, leverage, growth and other issues What signals should institutions be mindful of as they make portfolio decisions in the current environment? A panel...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Looking Back, Moving Forward - A Decade of Insight from CSIS

Fiscal 2009 was an epochal year. In March, the stock market decline wrought by the financial crisis and Great Recession reached its nadir as investors sensed the worst had passed. With the turn in...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Being Objective

Every year, the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments® (NCSE) reports new data—on investment returns, asset allocation, risk management, donations and gifts, and much more. But some data points are...
perspectives | Articles

Governance Best Practices: How Does Your Board Measure Up?

Since our founding in 1971, a core element of the Commonfund mission has been to provide insights on a broad range of governance, policy and investment challenges. An engaged governing board is...
perspectives | Articles

What’s the Difference? Time-Weighted Return vs. Internal Rate of Return

Investors often ask about the difference between time-weighted return (“TWR”) and internal rate of return (“IRR”). In general, TWR is used by the investment industry to measure the performance of...
perspectives | Articles

Hedge Fund Land: An Expensive Amusement Park?

In a series of articles, we have addressed two recent investment “fatigues” experienced by institutional investors: Active vs. Passive; and Global (ACWI) vs. US benchmarks.  In this article, we...
perspectives | Articles

The Misperception of Illiquid Investments

With many market participants expecting low nominal returns across traditional asset classes in the coming years, the challenge of structuring a portfolio to achieve CPI +5%, or long-term purchasing...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Counting the Cost

How much does investment management cost? Fiduciaries, donors and stakeholders at endowed institutions have a strong interest in finding a good answer to this question, particularly in this era of...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: A Firmer Foundation

How long is the long term? A year ago, private and community foundations appeared to many observers to have recovered from the losses suffered in the 2008–09 global financial crisis. Double-digit...
perspectives | Articles

The Big Picture: Integrating Investments, Finance and Development

Most things function a lot better when all the moving parts work together—nonprofit institutions included. The synergies afforded by collaboration across organizational boundaries may be the most...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Seven Years On

How long is the long term? A year ago, endowments appeared to many observers to have recovered from the losses suffered in the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Double-digit investment returns had...
perspectives | Articles

Impact Investing: Balancing the best of responsibility & opportunity

Impact investing is showing growth around the world. According to the most recent J.P. Morgan/Global Impact Investing Network Impact Investor Survey, the number of institutional investors engaging in...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: Changing Our Minds

It is often said that we live in a world of change, but it is surprising how slowly that change can occur. Seven years after the onset of the Great Recession, many business school students are still...
perspectives | Articles

Multi-Asset Investing: Form Follows Function

The design axiom captures the purpose of multi-asset investing Interest in multi-asset investing is growing and the inflows confirm it: Institutional assets committed to multi-asset investing are...
perspectives | Articles

Smart money, crowded trades?

For investors building multi-manager portfolios, a look at an alternative hedge fund beta. Approaches to stock selection vary widely across the hedge fund universe, even among managers practicing the...
perspectives | Articles

Greenhouse Effect

Investment returns of less well-diversified portfolios have flourished in the accommodative market environment created by central banks. But what will happen when rates rise? In the last five years,...
perspectives | Articles

Working capital: challenge and opportunity

On campus, the thinking about operating asset management is changing with the times. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, liquidity was the primary concern on university...
perspectives | Articles

Evolving Challenges in Nonprofit Governance

Commonfund recently convened an expert panel moderated by Myra Drucker (standing, left), Chair of the Board, TrustedPeer Inc. and former chair of the Commonfund Board of Trustees. The roundtable...
perspectives | Articles

ESG: Sharpening the Point

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are a topic for active discussion in board rooms. Here’s an update on Commonfund’s thoughts and actions and how ESG may relate to you. In general,...
perspectives | Articles

Viewpoint: A Different Kind of Climate Change

How have cultural, religious and social service institutions’ investment portfolios changed in response to the financial and market environment that has prevailed over the last several years? While...
perspectives | Articles

6 Keys to Choosing the Right Outsourced CIO

Today, few OCIOs that serve nonprofits are total institutional partners. Six questions can help you find one who takes a holistic approach. Not long ago, the definition and scope of an “Outsourced...
perspectives | Articles

ESG and Your Institution: Doing Well by Doing Good

Investing according to environmental, social and governance principles is maturing into a distinct discipline. Robust research results dispute the conventional wisdom about performance trade-offs. If...
perspectives | Articles

Long-Term Care

Facing cost pressures and a new regulatory regime, healthcare organizations — especially those in the small and mid-sized range — should consider adopting the principles of the endowment model....