ACU endowment returns lead the pack

Posted May 04, 2012

Looking back over the past decade, ACU’s endowment has been the top performing university endowment in the U.S. – according to the 2011 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. 

Quite simply: ACU is #1.

NACUBO’s 2011 survey evaluated 10-year endowment returns reported by 456 institutions of higher learning. The average rate of return among those schools: 5.6%. ACU’s return for the same 10-year period came in at 10.13. 

"We are blessed to be in investments that have performed quite well. Among them are stock funds, energy sector investments, and hedge funds,” says Jack Rich, ACU’s Chief Investment Officer and manager of its $302 million fund. "We also own holdings in private equity, real estate and emerging markets."

To offer another example of ACU's standout endowment performance: Looking back over the previous five-year period, the rate of return on funds held by the university stands at 9%. That puts ACU in the top 2% among reporting institutions who, on average, deliver a 4.7% rate of return. The performance of the S&P 500 was just under 3% for the same period. 

"We invest for the long term and we try not to be overly concerned about quarterly market movements," says Rich. "Beyond that, we work with the best fund managers we can identify, who then invest on our behalf." 

"Roughly 15 years ago, we began studying the best-performing endowments maintained by colleges and universities nationwide," says Rich. "We noticed that the larger endowments – those with values of $1 billion or more – had the best long-term performance, so we set out to research, develop and include similar strategies where they were deemed appropriate for our portfolio."

"Our investment committee has played a key role in determining our asset allocation over the past 10 years. It’s a committee that’s rich with experience, expertise and continuity," says Rich. 

Technically speaking, Rich is president of the Abilene Christian Investment Management Company (ACIMCO), and it’s ACIMCO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the university, that manages the university's endowment.