The recent economic downturn has prompted Memorial University’s acting president to issue a statement regarding the university’s endowment funds. In a recent statement sent to Memorial alumni Dr. Eddy Campbell said that the university’s conservative investment policy minimized Memorial’s exposure to negative market trends. The endowment funds will still be affected and the university is looking at strategies to minimize that impact.
“The funds for our endowment come from gifts to Memorial generously donated over the decades by corporations, foundations and individuals,” he said. “The investment strategy employed by Memorial for these funds is conservative, with an asset mix that includes less equities than fixed income investments. We have taken losses, but this conservative investment policy has resulted in those being comparatively lower than those of other universities.”
Memorial currently has a loss of approximately 13 per cent compared to 20-30 per cent posted by other North American universities. The endowment funds are used to support scholarship and research and the losses do not affect day-to-day operations.
“Our long-term objectives are to maintain a reasonable stable spending rate and to maintain an acceptable funding level so that the initial donations, adjusted for inflation, are available in perpetuity to the university,” Dr. Campbell said.
He noted that Memorial’s policy calls for any returns in excess of the university’s spending rate to be placed in reserve for use in years when investments might be adversely affected by market trends.
“Those reserves are under heavy pressure at the moment,” Dr. Campbell explained, adding that he has every confidence that Memorial will weather this economic storm with the help of its loyal supporters.
“We remain on stable financial ground, but there is no question we will have to continue to be both cautious and deliberate in our collective decision-making,” he said.