Insights Blog

Are You Ready for the Next Crisis?

Posted by Timothy T. Yates, Jr., Deborah Spalding on Sep 18, 2018

Topic: Investment Strategy

Ten years ago Lehman Brothers failed, representing the largest bankruptcy in history, and accelerating a global financial crisis that would knock many non-profit portfolios backward. The good news is that markets have been relatively calm since the fall of 2008. The bad news is that another crisis will inevitably upset the financial markets. And so on the 10-year anniversary of Lehman, we should ask ourselves, are we ready for the next financial pothole? At Commonfund, we are working with clients to develop a road map, or “crisis playbook"...

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7 Major Findings – Commonfund Benchmarks Study of Healthcare Organizations

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Sep 11, 2018

Topic: Industry Knowledge

Participants in the latest Commonfund Benchmarks Study® of Healthcare Organizations reported an average investable asset pool of $2.1 billion as of December 31, 2017, and median investable assets of $987.0 million as of the same date. The Study separates data from the 56 participants into three size cohorts: institutions with investable assets over $1 billion; those with investable assets between $501 million and $1 billion; and those with investable assets under $501 million. Following is a summary of the major findings in the report.

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The U.S. Economy: Still Looking Strong

Posted by Ryan Driscoll on Aug 16, 2018

Topic: Market Commentary

Mid-year has come and gone and until recently the markets were behaving like it’s 2017 all over again. Through July, the S&P 500 Index has had four straight months of gains. U.S. Treasury yields are relatively contained and the 10-year bond seems to have found resistance at the 3 percent level. Lastly, it seemed as though the spike in volatility that we saw early in the year had subsided

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Viewpoint: Responsible Investing – Read All About It

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Aug 10, 2018

Topic: Responsible Investing

The new and newsworthy in this year’s Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community Foundations® (CCSF) is headlined by responsible investing. No other area of inquiry showed as much year-over-year change or as much change over the past few Studies; to be clear, the changes would not be considered dramatic, but they are consistent and the trend line is easily discernible.

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Five Questions to Ask Your Advisor:
Costs of Portfolio Management

Posted by Amy Harlacker, Keith Luke on Jul 24, 2018

Topic: Investment Strategy | Outsourced Investing

Costs matter. With expectations for lower market returns over the coming years, every basis point of net performance is particularly important. Furthermore, the compounding effect of high fees can significantly impact spending for mission over time, so understanding the true cost of portfolio management is vital, but also a challenge.

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Wage Inflation: Is it Different This Time?

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Kristofer Kwait on Jul 13, 2018

Topic: Industry Knowledge | Market Commentary

The Federal Reserve Governors have been waiting patiently for a meaningful jump in inflation to validate the removal of historically low interest rates that laid the foundation for the economic recovery since the financial crisis. And . . . while The Fed continues to wait . . .

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The Four P’s of Investment Decisions:
Lessons from the Commonfund Institute

Posted by Cathleen M. Rittereiser on Jul 12, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

Three days after becoming Executive Director of the Commonfund Institute, I found myself giving welcoming remarks at our annual program. The agenda focused on the key responsibilities and decisions fiduciaries make, starting with policy decisions and leading into execution. The most important lessons I learned ...

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Equity Portfolio Construction – Through a Risk Factor Lens

Posted by David Scarozza on Jun 28, 2018

Topic: Equities | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Market Commentary | Risk Management

At Commonfund, we aim to build multi-manager, active risk equity portfolios with a clear objective of consistent outperformance versus passive policy benchmarks. Our approach is to take intentional and measured “risk away from the benchmark” by allocating to a variety of managers who employ active risk strategies...

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What are the Differences Between SRI and ESG?

Posted by Commonfund Institute on Jun 19, 2018

Topic: Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Responsible Investing

There are many terms referring in some way to practices related to responsible investing: socially responsible investing; mission-related investing; impact investing; integrated reporting; and investing according to environmental, social and governance principles. These terms are often grouped under the same category of responsible investing, but this generalization is misleading..

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Strong Signals Support the Fed’s Path Forward

Posted by Ryan Driscoll, Kristofer Kwait on Jun 15, 2018

Topic: Industry Knowledge | Market Commentary

Ultimately, the decision to increase rates was unanimous as the vote was 8-0. Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates for the second time this year and upgraded their forecast to four total increases in 2018, as unemployment fell and inflation exceeded their targets faster than previously projected.

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