By Richard Valdmanis
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) – Harvard, the world’s richest university, said on Thursday it paid its six in-house money managers a combined $49.3 million in 2013, up more than 70 percent from the previous year, citing the team’s “outperformance” in growing its endowment fund.
The team oversaw an investment return of 15.4 percent for the Ivy League school’s endowment during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, bringing it to $36.4 billion, or roughly the size of an average country’s annual gross domestic product.
Harvard Management Company, which runs the fund, “continues to deliver outperformance versus its Policy Portfolio benchmark, creating significant value for the University,” Paul Finnegan, Harvard’s treasurer, said in a press release.
The endowment provides billions of dollars to Harvard’s academic, financial aid and research programs.
Stephen Blyth was the top-paid manager with $11.5 million in compensation, more than double the $5.3 he earned in 2012. Blyth was head of public markets, where stocks rose again last year, before taking over the role of CEO and president from Jane Mendillo in January 2015.
Mendillo, the first woman to lead the school’s investment arm, was second-highest-paid with $9.56 million in 2013, up from $4.8 million in 2012, while natural resources portfolio manager Alvaro Aguirre-Simunovic took third place with a $9.55 million payout, up from $6.6 million, according to Harvard.
The combined pay for the endowment’s six managers was more than 70 percent higher than in 2012, when five managers took home $28.8 million.
While many alumni complain about Harvard managers’ high payouts, they generally pale in comparison to hedge fund managers. Harvard alumnus Kenneth Griffin, who manages the Citadel hedge fund, for example, earned $1.3 billion to rank as the industry’s best-paid manager in 2014.
Harvard began tying senior investment manager pay to the performance of its portfolio in 2010 after it lost billions of dollars during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
Unlike many other universities, Harvard manages a bulk of its money in-house and relies on outside managers, including hedge funds, to invest the rest.
(Editing by Ted Botha)