Harvard Expands Stock Investments

Harvard University added to its directly held U.S. traded securities last quarter—helping fuel a 7-percent increase in the value of those assets to $1.54 billion—and the University made sizable new investments in its already large emerging markets portfolio.

The University’s holdings were reported last Friday in a mandatory quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission filing disclosing Harvard’s direct holdings of U.S.-listed securities. Harvard manages a portion of its endowment directly and contracts with outside money managers for the remainder.

The University increased its investments in exchange-trade funds that track the performance of the Brazilian, Mexican, South Korean, and other emerging economies. Investments in emerging market ETFs represent about 67 percent of the investments reported in last week’s filing.

After its domestically traded securities portfolio declined in value earlier this year, the University broadly expanded its stock market investments last quarter with a variety of stock purchases in U.S. corporations.

According to the filing, the University now owns a $4.8 million stake in Halliburton, the energy conglomerate that has recently come under fire for its connection to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest accidental off-shore spill in history. Halliburton contracted with BP to provide cement for parts of the rig.


The University has also increased its holdings of real estate-related investments with the purchase of stock in KB Homes, an ETF tracking new U.S. residential construction, and further investment in Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, a hotel development firm in which the University has invested $46.8 million.

While the University has largely utilized ETFs to tap into emerging markets, it also made investments the U.S.-listed stock of foreign firms, including multimillion-dollar investments in two state-owned Chinese companies, the oil company China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the telecommunications company China Mobile Limited.

University officials were not available for comment yesterday.

Like the broader market, the University endowment suffered heavy losses during the financial crisis beginning in 2008 but has recently begun to recover, posting an 11 percent gain in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, which brought the endowment’s value to $27.4 billion.

—Staff writer Elias J. Groll can be reached at

—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at