UC regents discuss increase in university’s endowment

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The UC Board of Regents’ Committee on Investments discussed Wednesday the status of the University of California’s $91 billion endowment.

The university’s endowment reaped a 7.2 percent gain, and the university’s endowment, pension and working capital assets have cumulatively added more than $3 billion in value as of June.

The university’s endowment increased $600 million from last year, marking the 7.2 percent gain from the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to an agenda outlining investment performance — released by the UC chief investment officer — that was presented to the Board of Regents’ investments committee during its Wednesday meeting.

Specifically, the endowment, which has now amassed $8.9 billion in assets in comparison with last year’s $8.3 billion, surpassed its benchmark by 3.7 percent.

According to a 2014 analysis by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the university’s endowment produced the worst investment returns of any of the wealthiest colleges in the United States from 2004 to the 2013 fiscal year. The analysis further claims that had the university matched other top-ranked institutions in returns, it would have made another $5.4 billion over the course of 10 years.

In 2013, however, the returns of the university’s endowment began to increase significantly.

Additionally, at the meeting, UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher said the university would be selling its direct holdings in coal mining and “oil sands-focused” companies, adding that his office would be transparent about these efforts.

“I am encouraged by the accomplishments of our new team and by the relative performance of our investments in the low-return environment of this past year, as well as by the stronger long-term results,” said Regent Paul Wachter, chair of the Committee on Investments, according to a statement.

The university’s total assets are $98.2 billion as of the end of June this year — up from $90.6 billion the previous year.

Staff writer G. Haley Massara contributed to this report.

Suhauna Hussain is the lead higher education reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @suhaunah.