Articles

Viewpoint:
The Long of It

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Sep 17, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

Endowments, like the organizations they support, are generally intended to operate in perpetuity. To accomplish this goal, those responsible for endowments—trustees or directors—make decisions based not on myopic thinking or daily machinations in the financial markets, but on the unique...

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Viewpoint: The Gift of (Relative) Calm

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Aug 16, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

The calamities known as the financial crisis and Great Recession are now a decade in the past. But far from fading into history, the memories remain fresh. And we are reminded of those days regularly (headline from a recent New York Times: “Biggest Banks Easily Pass Fed Stress Test").

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Inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report and 2018 Mid-Year Letter

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Commonfund on Jul 12, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Responsible Investing

We are pleased to share with you our inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report. Since our founding in 1971, Commonfund has pursued a singular mission – to enhance the financial resources of our clients by delivering exceptional performance, service and insight. Beyond our focus on investment excellence . . .

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Diversity and Emerging Managers

Posted by Commonfund Institute on May 21, 2018

Topic: Investment Strategy | Responsible Investing

The benefits of diversity are widely recognized in the work place and among educational institutions and other nonprofits. Yet, the concept of investment management firms that are minority owned and operated lags, partly because of the challenge of attracting investors’ capital . . .

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Inflation Expectations are Rising. How Can Investors Protect Portfolios?

Posted by Ivo C. Nenin, Kristofer Kwait on May 14, 2018

Topic: Investment Strategy | Real Assets

In March, capital markets entered their tenth year of post-crisis recovery. For diversified portfolios, these have been some of the most profitable times, characterized by strong returns, positive correlations between equities and bonds and robust illiquidity premiums from private programs . . .

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ESG Investing Becomes Mainstream

Posted by Commonfund Institute on May 4, 2018

Topic: Responsible Investing

Can a sustainability strategy be tied to better financial outcomes? The subject of ESG, or investing in accord with environmental, social and governance principles, arose in several sessions at Commonfund Forum 2018. One session, in particular, was devoted to the ongoing evolution of responsible investing, with a focus on ESG.

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Private Capital: Key to Unlocking Growth in Emerging Markets

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Apr 25, 2018

Topic: Private Capital

After a turbulent period, emerging markets have delivered double-digit returns in recent years. Private investments in emerging markets offer a way to diversify beyond the public markets and, in general, have also been a source of strong returns...

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Viewpoint:
Being Objective

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Feb 22, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

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 relatively static. In this Viewpoint we will dive deeper into long-term return objectives and the investment policies that support the objectives of the endowment.

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Governance Best Practices: How Does Your Board Measure Up?

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Jan 11, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge

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 important in all environments – but perhaps no more so than today. Markets are at new highs, yet there remains much uncertainty – from the inevitable market correction to disruption of many nonprofit operating models to the impact of recently enacted tax law changes. As we start 2018, Commonfund Institute convened a panel of thought leaders to discuss current practices in nonprofit governance and offer ways for boards to bring best practices to their processes and deliberations. The discussion was moderated by John S. Griswold, Founding Director of the Institute. The three panelists were: Thomas K. Hyatt, partner in the Washington office of Dentons US LLPand co-chair of the firm’s U.S. Nonprofit Entities Practice. He is a Senior Fellow for Public Policy at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and was recognized as Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer of the Year for 2017 by the American Bar Association. Robert B. Litterman, PhD., Chair of the Risk Committee and a founding partner of Kepos Capital, a New York City-based systematic global macro investment firm. In a 23-year career with Goldman Sachs he headed the firm’s risk management function and co-developed the Black-Litterman Global Asset Allocation Model, a mathematical model for portfolio allocation. He is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Commonfund, and serves on other boards, including the World Wildlife Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. David Nygren, PhD., founder of Nygren Consulting and previously founding Senior Partner of the Corporate Governance Consulting Group at Mercer Delta Consulting. Formerly, he was Executive Vice President of DePaul University and has held teaching and research appointments at Harvard, Yale and Boston University. He has served on or chaired the boards of numerous organizations in education, health care and the arts.

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Year-End Update and 2018 Outlook | Rational Resiliency

Posted by Catherine Keating on Dec 14, 2017

Topic: Investment Strategy

As we come to the end of 2017 and look forward to 2018, we are approaching the tenth year of the post-crisis recovery. With synchronized global growth for the first time in a decade, equity markets near all-time highs, and a year of strong double-digit portfolio returns, investors should be feeling exuberant. And yet we find the exuberance of most institutions with whom we work tempered by concerns about the future.

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