The Harvard Management Co., which oversees Harvard University’s endowment and other investments, just released its 2016 annual report. It’s grim reading: The fund had a negative return of 2 percent and was worth about $2 billion less than a year earlier, underperforming its benchmarks by a significant margin.
At $35.7 billion, the university’s endowment is the biggest in the world. And let’s get it out of the way quickly — anyone can have a bad year. But here’s what should be of greater concern to alums and donors: the processes that the university and the management company use to look after this huge pile of money.