Campus News

Bowdoin Endowment Update

Story posted December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008

As of November 30, 2008, the Bowdoin College endowment has generated unrealized losses of approximately 17% in the five-month period since the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2008. This does not include updated valuations of private investments including private equity and real estate partnerships, which comprise approximately 20% of the endowment portfolio.

Bowdoin's loss of 17% in the marketable portfolio – which includes domestic and international equities, fixed income, and hedge fund investments – outperformed marketable indices such as the S&P 500 and the Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe Australasia and Far East (MSCI EAFE) index which were down 29.2% and 40.6% respectively over the same period. As previously reported, Bowdoin’s endowment stood at $831.5 million on June 30, 2008.

“These snapshots of endowment performance can be misleading because of the complexity of the investments and the recent volatility in world financial markets, and that’s why we have generally refrained from providing unaudited updates of our endowment performance,” said Bowdoin President Barry Mills. “But with the many recent news reports about dwindling endowment values and the corresponding negative impact on college budgets, we thought it was important to offer some context for Bowdoin’s situation. This estimated loss of 17% since June 30 is certainly not good news, but given the economic climate and the deeper losses widely reported elsewhere, Bowdoin’s relatively strong performance is a testament to the hard work, expertise, and prudent management skills of our Investment Committee and of Senior Vice President for Investments Paula Volent and her staff.”

Bowdoin’s endowment is managed for the long term. On June 30, 2008, Bowdoin’s ten-year annualized performance was 10.2%.

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