UBC’s endowment is valued at approximately $2 billion. The primary goal of the endowment is to provide financial support to the university’s academic mission in perpetuity, and to further UBC’s vision to create a learning environment that fosters positive global citizenship.
About 75% of the endowment funds have been established with donations. UBC is very grateful for these contributions and works to ensure that donors’ philanthropic intentions are met in perpetuity. Beyond this commitment to our donors, UBC also has a fiduciary responsibility to the charitable purposes for which these endowments were established.
Just over 30% of the endowment has been established from land lease revenues earned from housing developments on UBC’s land.
The university does not itself invest in specific companies or individual stocks and bonds. Rather, through the UBC Investment Management Trust (IMANT) it selects well established and performance-leading external fund managers, primarily using pooled fund structures, which ensure diversification and lower administration costs and investment fees.
Long-Term Goals & Investment Mix
The goal of the UBC endowment is to support the university’s academic mission in perpetuity and to ensure that current and future generations of UBC students and researchers are able to benefit from the foresight and generosity of those who establish endowments. Because of this commitment to inter-generational equity, the university necessarily takes a long-term view of its endowment investments.
Within its externally managed pooled funds, the investment mix is highly diversified, and includes bonds, domestic and foreign equities, real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and absolute return funds. For each asset class, the endowment is invested with portfolio managers selected for their performance, risk management, and alignment with the university’s objectives.
Honoring Fiduciary Responsibility
Fiduciary responsibility refers to UBC’s legal duty of care to manage trust funds in accordance with common law investment standards. All stakeholders expect UBC to provide investment returns over the long term to fulfil the intentions of the gift. UBC has a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interest of the ‘purpose’ of the endowment.
By investing in pooled funds, UBC is able to diversify its investments, thus reducing risk and minimizing fees and administrative costs. This approach allows the endowment to achieve the investment returns that a) meet or exceed the university’s existing spending needs, and b) ensure the preservation and growth of the endowment for future generations of students, faculty, and staff.