Maine Liberal Arts College Bowdoin Crushes Richest Schools in Endowment Gains

(Bloomberg) -- Bowdoin College posted a 15.7 percent investment gain, the highest one-year performance among the richest schools including much larger Ivy League endowments.

The value of the fund was a record $1.6 billion at June 30, the liberal arts school in Maine said Tuesday in a statement. Some elite schools including Bowdoin have reported double-digit gains in fiscal 2018 driven by strong private equity and venture capital returns.

Stanley Druckenmiller, the chairman of Bowdoin’s investment committee and a billionaire investor, said in an interview Tuesday that venture capital and private equity “were well represented with fabulous returns.” In the statement, Bowdoin didn’t disclose asset allocation or performance by asset class.

Druckenmiller, who graduated from Bowdoin in 1975, attributed the fund’s success to Chief Investment Officer Paula Volent, her staff and their selection of external managers.

‘Right Area’

“She’s not only been in the right area but with the right practitioners,” he said.

Druckenmiller said Volent’s dual strategy is to be aggressive on private equity and venture capital investments and balance the portfolio with managers who can make money in a bear market.

Volent has also preserved liquidity in the endowment to insulate it in a potential downturn, he said.

Volent, who formerly worked for Yale University’s endowment and has been with Bowdoin since 2000, was traveling and unavailable for comment, a school spokesman said.

Maine Liberal Arts College Bowdoin Crushes Richest Schools in Endowment Gains

Bowdoin bested a median 8.3 percent gain for endowments of all sizes, according to preliminary data compiled by consultant Cambridge Associates.

Top Performers

Brown University on Tuesday posted an investment gain of 13.2 percent, the top performer among five Ivy League schools that have reported so far. Harvard University, the richest school in U.S. higher education, gained 10 percent, boosting its value to $39.2 billion.

“These outstanding investment results speak once again to the exceptional work” of Volent and “her very able team, and to the discipline and foresight of our investment committee,” Bowdoin President Clayton Rose said in the statement.

The fund gained an annualized 8.6 percent for three years; 11.8 percent for five years and 8.8 percent for 10 years.

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