Washington University in St. Louis: Washington University Managed Endowment Pool generates record 65% return

The Washington University Investment Management Company (WUIMC) generated an unprecedented 65% return on its Managed Endowment Pool (MEP) during the 2020-21 fiscal year, giving Washington University in St. Louis a significant financial gain that the university will use to bolster its support of students and strategic academic initiatives. The MEP includes the vast majority of the endowment, plus additional long-term operating investments of the university.

“This is a game-changing moment for us as an institution,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “The funds generated by this incredible return will allow us to take a huge leap forward in advancing our highest priorities for our students and our academic and research enterprise. I’m frankly blown away by these results and incredibly grateful to the talented WUIMC team for giving us this truly transformative opportunity.”

Under the leadership of Scott L. Wilson, the university’s chief investment officer, the MEP has exceeded expectations for the past four years, and now has a value of $15.3 billion as of the close of the fiscal year on June 30, 2021.

“Fiscal 2021 was a strong year across capital markets, and we are happy with how our portfolio performed,” Wilson said. “The support of the WUIMC Board and WashU administration allowed us to take advantage of various investment opportunities during the fiscal year that generated significant returns as the world adjusted to a new normal. The portfolio changes that we began implementing in 2017 are also starting to show positive results, but we remain solely focused on the long-term returns. The team and I are grateful to participate in the financial support of the university’s mission, and for the extraordinary partners who invest capital on the university’s behalf.”

“These are extraordinary and exceptional performance results, marking the third consecutive year of strong, top quartile returns,” said Eric B. Upin, WUIMC’s board chair. “And remarkably, the MEP’s returns were generated across the entire portfolio of asset classes and investment managers. These multiyear results, with significant above-benchmark returns and substantial contributions to the university, are a testament to Chief Investment Officer Scott Wilson and the entire endowment team. The WUIMC Board is resolutely committed to fostering an investment organization and portfolio that achieves strong investment results over the long term, providing continued and growing endowment funding of scholarships, professorships and critical research.”

The 65% return for 2020-21 continues a trend of significant improvement in recent years. Annualized returns for WUIMC’s MEP for three, five and 10 years are 24.9%, 19.2% and 12.2%, respectively.

“Since becoming chancellor almost two years ago, I have been focused on taking the necessary steps to fulfill our promise to make Washington University a place where all students can have access to a world-class educational experience,” Martin said. “This remarkable return will allow us to take a huge step forward, and I look forward to sharing our plans with our university community in the coming weeks. Again, I am extremely grateful to Scott Wilson and our WUIMC team for making this moment possible.”