Harvard's endowment backs away from a former student's hedge fund after an ugly year of losses

Harvard’s $US35.7 billion endowment withdrew some money from a hedge fund run by one of its former students after an ugly year of losses, Bloomberg’s Michael McDonald reported on Tuesday.

The endowment withdrew from Eton Park Capital Management, the hedge fund run by Eric Mindich that announced it was shutting down in March. Mindich graduated from Harvard in 1988.

“A combination of industry headwinds, a difficult market environment and, importantly, our own disappointing 2016 results” challenged the fund’s sustainability, Mindich said in a letter to investors when the fund shut down. Its launch in 2004 with $US3.5 billion was considered one of the largest hedge fund launches ever.

McDonald reported that Harvard’s move came amid an overhaul of the endowment, the largest in higher education.

Harvard’s fiscal 2016 annual report showed that the endowment lost 2% that year, hurt by low interest rates, market volatility, and execution, which was a “key factor.” Mindich’s flagship fund lost 9.4% last year, versus the 12% gain on the S&P 500, partly because of a wrong bet on Japanese stocks, Bloomberg reported.

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