With all the stories in the media recently about university endowment funds, the news is reassuring from the York University Endowment Fund. The University does not have its own independent asset management company, but rather uses three professional investment companies to manage its endowment funds. These companies are approved by the Board Investment Committee, which oversees the investment of the fund. The investment performance of the fund is reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
The University’s returns were positive 7.4 per cent in fiscal 2001 and positive 4.4 per cent for the 2002 fiscal year ending April 30, 2002. The positive 2002 results were achieved despite the significant declines in equity markets. The University’s endowment funds are invested relatively conservatively, with about 57 per cent invested in equity markets, and the remainder in bonds and other fixed income investments. The market value of the fund was $142.3 million at the end of fiscal 2002.
York’s spending policy on endowments is also relatively conservative compared to many institutions, and provides an ongoing known interest disbursement from year to year. After reviewing last year’s investment returns and this year’s results to-date, we have determined that there are sufficient funds available to maintain our normal disbursement for the upcoming fiscal year. We will continue to review and assess market results, but at this time do not anticipate any reductions to scholarships, bursaries and other academic endeavours funded by the endowments.