An endowment fund is the investment arm of nonprofit institutions like universities, charities, and churches. The purpose of the fund is to invest the organization’s assets to fuel future operations and other important projects. The world’s largest endowment funds have billions in investable assets, making them sizable players in the finance sector. Overall, there are four main types of endowment structures:
- Unrestricted endowment: A fund structure where assets are used at the full discretion of the institution.
- Term endowment: A fund structure with a fixed term time period before the principal can be spent.
- Quasi endowment: A donation to an endowment with a specific purpose to deploy that capital.
- Restricted endowment: A fund structure where the principal value from donations is held forever and only returns generated on the principal can be used.
In addition, each endowment fund has different structures in regard to withdrawals, use of funds, and their general investment philosophy. The largest endowment funds can be compared on a grand economic scale, in terms of assets. Universities are one leading category from the world of endowment funds, particularly those from the United States.
The top endowment funds carry considerable influence within the world of finance. While they all have billions to invest, each has very different objectives and intentions on how to deploy their capital. And despite being non-profit organizations, endowment funds are seeing their overall assets exceed those held by many other investment funds, such as sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, and private equity firms.
Here are the top 20 biggest endowment funds in the world.
|Rank||Endowment fund||Total assets|
|1.||Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc||$124 billion|
|2.||Japan Science and Technology Agency||$80.70 billion|
|3.||Stanford University||$75.14 billion|
|4.||Harvard Management Company||$72.78 billion|
|5.||Yale University||$56.22 billion|
|6.||Princeton University||$44.46 billion|
|7.||MIT Investment Management Company||$42.53 billion|
|8.||Duke University||$30.39 billion|
|9.||New York University||$27.84 billion|
|10.||Columbia University in the City of New York||$24.70 billion|
|11.||University of Notre Dame||$24.60 billion|
|12.||KAUST Investment Management Company||$23.50 billion|
|13.||Emory University||$20.46 billion|
|14.||Johns Hopkins University||$18.04 billion|
|15.||Church Pension Fund||$17.77 billion|
|16.||University of Chicago||$17.28 billion|
|17.||Ohio State University||$16.01 billion|
|18.||Northwestern University||$15.86 billion|
|19.||Washington University in St Louis||$15.10 billion|
|20.||Penn State University, Office of Investment Management||$15.02 billion|